The president was asked about claims that he downplayed the pandemic earlier this year.By John Shumway

PHILADELPHIA (KDKA) – President Donald Trump sat down with undecided voters at a town hall event in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

The mix of voters, including some from the Pittsburgh area, asked the president some tough questions.

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One of those questions came from a local student, asking why he downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus earlier this year – a claim coming from author Bob Woodward, who says those comments were made by the president in recorded interviews earlier this year for his new book, “Rage.”

“Why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?” Asked Ajani Powell.

“Well, I didn’t downplay it,” President Trump responded. “I actually, in many ways, I up played it in terms of action. My action was very strong because what I did was with China, I put a ban on with Europe, I put a ban on, and we would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on. So that was called action, not with the mouth, but in actual fact, we did a very, very good job.”

The government’s response to the pandemic was not the only controversial claim the president denied during ABC’s town hall hosted by George Stepahnoplous, another voter asked about a report in The Atlantic, claiming he called U.S. soldiers killed in battle “suckers” and “losers.”

“Easy, because I never made those statements,” President Trump said. “They were never made by me. They said I stood over the grave of soldiers killed many years ago, and I said they were suckers. I never made that – you know we’ve had 26 people as of today come out to say it never happened and many people were there.”

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Challenging President Trump for the White House is former Vice President Joe Biden. ABC News said it reached out to his campaign to schedule a town hall but was unable to find a date.

Biden didn’t have much to say about the president’s town hall event, except for one tweet.

The tweet references President Trump’s comment that Biden did not follow through on a national mask mandate he called for during the Democratic National Convention.

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In part, Biden said, “To be clear, I am not currently the president.”