Bob Woodward is about to release a new book entitled “RAGE,” which centers President Donald Trump. Part of it entails how POTUS knew the severity of COVID-19, but “wanted to play it down.”
Other information came from “notes, emails, diaries and calendars” obtained by Woodward. This also includes 25 unseen personal letter exchanges between the POTUS and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, based on Axios‘ previous report.
News publications, including CNN, got a hold of some of those recorded interviews. A few relevant takeaways were Trump’s prior knowledge of the severity of COVID-19.
WH officials warned Trump that talking to Bob Woodward was a bad idea, we are told. But Trump went forward with the hours of interviews anyway. A source, who has direct knowledge of discussions, said Trump and Kushner thought Woodward interviews were a good idea.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 9, 2020
Woodward book tells Trump knew about COVID-19’s true threat
Accordingly, he knew how “deadly” the coronavirus was even before the United States recorded its very first COVID-19 death, based on Woodward’s book.
Trump has since been plagued with criticisms on how he handled the coronavirus pandemic in the country. As of this writing, the Worldometer records 194,862 deaths in total, with new 832 fatalities reported in just a day.
In February, according to BBC, Trump told the public that the coronavirus was “very much under control.” Multiple news outlets have quoted him saying that the virus “will go away” and that it will “all work out fine.”
Yet in the recorded interview, Trump admitted knowing the severity of COVID-19, calling it “deadly stuff,” per the February 7 interview.
He dubbed it “five times ‘more deadly’ than the flu.”
However, BBC highlights that this contradicts his public statement, implying that the “flu was more dangerous” than the coronavirus.
“You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7, yet continued to hold six more crowded, indoor rallies over the next month anyway. Our report on "Rage" today: pic.twitter.com/ojL3P7IUz3
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 9, 2020
Woodward book: Trump to ‘play it down’ to avoid panic
Furthermore, in a March 19 interview, Trump told Woodward that he “wanted to always play it down.” This statement came days after the president declared a national emergency because of the outbreak.
According to the Woodward book interview, his statement further reads:
“I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Per CNN, had Trump “acted decisively” as early as February, instead of playing the virus down, thousands of lives could have been saved, as experts believed.
President Trump defends his comments to Bob Woodward about downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he “had to show calm” and “the last thing we can show is panic or excitement or fear” https://t.co/72jhid0AL5 pic.twitter.com/7Y5p3OreLi
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 9, 2020
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany answered questions from the press regarding the content of the Woodward book. McEnany affirms that Trump “never downplayed the virus.”
“The president expressed calm. The president was serious about this…and he was taking early action.”
WH press secretary Kayleigh McEnany maintained that Trump “has never lied to the American public on Covid” and “never downplayed the virus” after the release of the interview excerpts — despite Trump’s acknowledgment to Woodward that he did just that https://t.co/6vr0wkAhCl pic.twitter.com/nsIDB44sao
— POLITICO (@politico) September 9, 2020
In the same March 19 interview, Trump admitted to knowing that the COVID-19 “not just affect old people” but the young ones as well. Yet last month, Trump repeated his alleged former “false claim” about young people being “virtually immune” to the virus, per Independent.
When further asked if he still believes such a claim, he says:
“For the most part, yeah, I think they do very well. They don’t catch it very easily … They don’t transport it or transfer it to other people, or certainly not very easily.”
Facebook and Twitter have since asked the Trump campaign to remove videos where the president claims that children are “virtually immune” to COVID-19, as it is false.
Featured image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr