An ardent supporter of US President Donald Trump has drawn gasps from the ABC’s Q&A panel and audience as he defended the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
John Ruddick, a conservative commentator and author, appeared on Q&A on Monday night to discuss the upcoming 2020 US presidential election.
Mr Ruddick was asked whether the US President was wrong to suggest in February that the coronavirus would just go away.
He told the panel Mr Trump is an “upbeat person” and wanted to remain positive which drew a mix of shock and laughter from the reduced COVID audience.
Q&A host Hamish McDonald asked if Mr Trump needed to be honest about the situation.
“Obviously Trump shoots his mouth off,” Mr Ruddick said.
“A lot of people have said we want a non-politician as the president. We got one. He's not a polished speaker. People know what's in his heart.”
Studio audience ‘laughed in disbelief’
On Twitter, people criticised Mr Ruddick’s responses.
One woman tweeted he made her “want to scream” while another called him “an embarrassment”.
“John Ruddick came across as a sycophantic Trump nutter,” another woman tweeted.
“Even the audience laughed in disbelief at his responses.”
However, not everyone was critical of Mr Ruddick.
“I think it's important to have panellists from anywhere and everywhere on Q&A. Some may find controversial viewpoints inconsistent, nonsense or even offensive,” one man tweeted.
“That's okay. I found listening to John Ruddick beneficial. Apologies if that offends people.”
The US President has drawn widespread criticism for his handling of the virus. The country has 200,000 deaths from COVID and leads the world with the most cases at 6.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
In April, he was mocked for seemingly suggesting coronavirus could be killed by injecting people with disinfectant. Mr Trump later claimed he was being sarcastic.
When asked how it would go away without a vaccine, the US President mumbled about herd immunity.
He’s also raised a few eyebrows for comments made to the media including his infamous press conference about people allegedly hurling cans of soup.
There have also been concerns Mr Trump might not accept the election result if he loses to Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Will the US President accept the election result?
Mr Ruddick was asked if the US President loses the election if he would like to see him concede and admit defeat.
“Look I think if it was a Bush-Gore 2000 repeat type of situation, where it was tense for five weeks, my hunch is Donald Trump would say, ‘you know what? I love America so much, I don't want to put America through this division’,” he said, drawing some laughter from the audience.
“This is what Richard Nixon did.”
Mr Trump told Fox News in July he would “have to see” if he would accept the result.
“No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either,” Mr Trump said.
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