President Trump lashed out at Columbia University on Sunday, calling the school a “disgraceful institution” in a new interview released Sunday days after it released a study concluding that thousands of deaths could have been prevented in the U.S. if shutdowns weren’t delayed.
Interviewer Sharyl Attkisson asked Trump about the study, which determined almost 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 through early May could have been avoided if social distancing and lockdowns had been implemented sooner.
The president called the fact that the university would issue the study “a disgrace” on Attkisson’s show “Full Measure.”
“Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution to write that because all the people that they cater to were months after me,” Trump said.
“And I saw that report,” he added. “It’s a disgrace that Columbia University would do it, playing right to their little group of people that tell them what to do.”
"Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution" — Trump to Sharyl Attkisson on Columbia University study that found 30,000 lives could've been saved had his federal government recommended social distancing measures just one week earlier pic.twitter.com/uYvqrpMEmC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 24, 2020
Trump cited his January travel ban on foreign nationals from China as evidence of his administration’s early actions, adding that he took “tremendous heat” for the decision at the time.
The Hill notes:
The study focused on transmission in metropolitan areas and concluded that social distancing efforts reduced the rates of COVID-19 contraction. The research was conducted with counterfactual experiments, which researchers acknowledged are based on hypothetical assumptions.
The study also found about 54,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 could have been avoided in early May if restrictions began on March 1.