Responding for the first time to the recordings made by Woodward for his book “Rage,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday Trump was merely looking to convey calm when he publicly downplayed the virus while privately acknowledging its severity.

“When you are facing insurmountable challenges, it’s important to express confidence and express calm,” she said.

“The President was expressing calm and his actions reflect that,” she said, adding later: “The President has always been clear-eyed with the American people.”

In the recordings, Trump is heard telling Woodward: “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

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