Trump rips Columbia as ‘disgraceful institution’ after study showed lives lost due to delayed shutdown
President Trump ripped Columbia University as a “disgraceful institution” in a new interview released Sunday after it released a study last week concluding thousands of lives could have been spared in the U.S. if shutdowns weren’t delayed.
Sharyl Attkisson asked the president 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 started earlier.
The president called the fact that the university would issue the study “a disgrace” on the 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.”
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.
Columbia University did not immediately return a request for comment.
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.
Trump has repeatedly defended his administration’s response to the pandemic, including pointing to his decision in late January to restrict travel from China, while critics have said administration officials downplayed the threat and reacted too slowly.