Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has moved to distance himself with the US President, after his big call comparing COVID-19 with the common flu.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has moved to distance himself with the US President, after his big call comparing COVID-19 with the common flu.

Frydenberg’s swipe at ‘dropkick’ Trump

He once called US President Donald Trump a "dropkick" and his view clearly hasn't changed when it comes to the COVID-stricken septuagenarian's big call comparing the virus with the common flu.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has moved to distance himself with the US President's claims today during a media blitz to spruik the budget.

The 74-year-old US President has been under fire from social media giants Twitter and Facebook overnight over the comparison.

"Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" Mr Trump tweeted.

In response, Facebook deleted the post for violating its rules about misinformation on COVID-19 as Mr Trump continued to make headlines for leaving hospital, declaring he was "feeling great" and taking his mask off on the balcony of the White House for the television cameras.

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"We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post," Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook told the BBC.

Network Ten's Peter van Onselen, asked Mr Frydenberg if he agreed with the US President's views after the traditional post-budget speech in Canberra.

"At the heart of the budget is defeating this virus. Donald Trump says we shouldn't be afraid of COVID-19. You once called him a 'drop-kick'. What superlative would you use now?,'' he asked.

In response, the Treasurer laughed before declining to retract his old comments which predated his election as US President.

"I'm going to leave the commentary on other nations' political systems to you," he said.

"What I will say, is that we take COVID-19 very seriously. It's a deadly virus. And it's taken lives and it doesn't discriminate between age groups. Doesn't discriminate between race or religion or backgrounds and that is why we have placed health measures first and foremost in our response and those health measures have been working with - as we partner with the states in that response."

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Mr Frydenberg said you wouldn’t see Scott Morrison sprouting claims like Mr Trump’s. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman
Mr Frydenberg said you wouldn’t see Scott Morrison sprouting claims like Mr Trump’s. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman

When he was then prodded on Mr Trump's Twitter spree comparing COVID-19 with the flu, Mr Frydenberg agreed it wasn't responsible.

"Well, you won't see Scott Morrison putting out those sort of messages," the Treasurer said.

"What Scott Morrison, what Greg Hunt, what myself and others have always said is that this virus is - is deadly and it's is creating a massive health and economic challenge for us and we put the health of all Australians first and that is what we have done and the result is that as a nation we have been able to suppress the virus very successful to date."

Four years ago, Mr Frydenberg branded then US presidential hopeful Donald Trump a dropkick and said his remarks about women were indefensible.

"Back on (ABC program) Q&A over a year ago I called him a dropkick and I haven't seen a reason to back away from those comments," he said.

Originally published as Frydenberg's swipe at 'dropkick' Trump