President Donald Trump confessed he knew weeks prior to the first confirmed US coronavirus death the virus was benign, airborne, highly infectious and”more lethal than your strenuous flus,” and that he played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book”Rage.”
Woodward’s Rage opens to the Oval Office, where both top officials from the president’s national security staff are telling him that COVID-19 is a significant danger to the U.S. and much worse than the flu.
“This will be the biggest national security threat you face on your presidency,” says Robert O’Brien, the national security advisor (Trump’s fourth). “This is going to function as the funniest thing you face.”
President Trump admitted on tape to knowing the deadly nature of the coronavirus pandemic but downplaying it publicly — saying "I wanted to always play it down," according to a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward.https://t.co/C9OHlyMcDG— NPR (@NPR) September 10, 2020
O’Brien’s announcement creates the president’s head”pop up,” but it is instantly seconded by O’Brien’s main deputy, Matt Pottinger, whom Woodward reports was present.
President Donald Trump acknowledged the risks of the coronavirus pandemic at a February interview with journalist Bob Woodward and confessed downplaying the danger in a meeting a month afterwards, based on an account of Woodward’s new book.
“I wanted to always play down it. I like playing it down since I do not need to make a panic,” Trump said in a March 19 call with Woodward, based on an audio clip posted Wednesday on The Washington Post’s website. The newspaper obtained a copy of the publication,”Rage,” that is scheduled to be published next week.
This is the biggest scandal in the history of journalism. A reporter suppressed the tape of a president warning that a virus was lethal & airborne. 200,000 people died as the tape was suppressed. https://t.co/R11XjQ46cV— David Sirota (@davidsirota) September 10, 2020
In the exact same interview, Trump confessed that the disease has been more lethal than he previously believed.
“Now it is turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. But just today, and some startling facts came out. It is not just old, older,” Trump said, according to an audio clip, and then added,”young people, too, lots of young people.”
Trump is secured at a difficult re-election fight against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with his poll numbers sagging as he proceeds to get low marks from voters for how he handled the response to the virus.
Joe Biden accused President Trump of "a life-and-death betrayal of the American people" hours after journalist Bob Woodward revealed ahead of the publication of his new book, "Rage," that Trump had concealed the true threat posed by coronavirus https://t.co/yK0H2Wbm9B— CNN (@CNN) September 10, 2020
Trump, speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, said he had been trying to avoid”panic” and was revealing”leadership.”
“We’ve got to show calm,” he explained. “Certainly I’m not going to push this nation or the world to a frenzy. We want to demonstrate confidence. We have to demonstrate strength.”
He sidestepped a question regarding if lives might have been saved if he’d been more forthright about the dangers posed by the virus.
Throughout history, presidents reacted to minutes of great trial by leveling with the American public around often-dire challenges, but also summoned a collective sense of mission toward a perilous destination. On another day of infamy — 19 years ago on Friday — a Republican, George W. Bush, united and combined a people offended with a shocking act of terrorism on 9/11.
When Trump’s time came — in February — we know that he absolutely understood the pernicious nature of the danger posed by the novel coronavirus. But while he told Woodward at a telephone call”that is mortal stuff” and the pathogen caused a viciously contagious illness considerably worse than the flu, Trump did not level with the American people. In fact, he intentionally misled them and neglected to prepare the authorities for a huge federal work. Worse, for weeks he continued to misinform the nation about the harshness of the pathogen that caused the worst international pandemic in 100 years.
The 190,000 American families who lost loved ones and could never say goodbye, the millions of unemployed, the business owners that went bust, a generation of kids who have not been in class for weeks and everyone else self-distanced from their lives today confront the same question: How different would things have been experienced the President completed his job correctly?
According to the book, Trump told Woodward about Feb. 7 that the coronavirus posed a far greater and fatal threat than he was letting on in public. Trump went to downplay the virus, and it was not until March 13 the White House declared the outbreak a federal crisis.
Trump told Woodward in an interview Feb. 7 how much”more deadly” COVID-19 would be than the flu, a startling juxtaposition in the president’s public comments in the time and in the months since about COVID-19, its lethality and its spread.
Woodward’s book, that arrives next week, attracts from 18 conversations with Trump between December and July. Throughout his AP interview, Woodward said Trump called him”from the blue” in early February to”unburden himself” about the virus, which then had few cases at the U.S.. However, Woodward said that only in May was that he satisfied that Trump’s comments were based on reliable information and by then the virus had spread nationally.
Here's The New York Times review of Bob Woodward's RAGE. With quite the lede. https://t.co/whoa1zhG46— Pamela Paul (@PamelaPaulNYT) September 10, 2020
That is Woodward’s 20th publication. The first was the President’s Men, the inside story of the reporting of Woodward and Carl Bernstein which led to criminal prosecutions and impeachment proceedings and the eventual resignation of President Richard M. Nixon nearly half a century ago. This work was, and remains, controversial for its reliance on unnamed sources. Woodward’s subsequent decades of work are widely acclaimed but also often been held at arm’s length for their dependence on”blind quotes.”
“When I’d completed the story then about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we did not know,” Woodward said. At that stage, he stated, the issue was no longer among public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out until the election in November.
“This has been the demarcation line for me personally,” he said. “had I determined that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this calendar year, that could have been unthinkable.”
Trump has just two Achilles heels in politics and life. The first is that he cares desperately about how folks think of him and remember him that he is prepared to do almost anything to impact his heritage. The second is that he considers much too much in his own ability to persuade. Woodward (along with the book he has produced) cuts at both of those heels.
Meaning that Trump was essentially poking in his own weakest places with every single word he uttered to Woodward. And yet, he couldn’t stop himself.
At Woodward’s book”Rage,” the journalist interviewed Trump 18 times and included audio recordings of their discussions.
Are these novels coming out now since the election is only eight weeks away? Yes, of course they’re. Crucial of the president in varying degrees of detail and higher dudgeon, the novels talk to those Republicans still making up their heads. In addition they represent their writers’ and publishers’ certain knowledge that Trump books will sell better prior to the election than later (especially if he loses).
The U.S. currently has more than 6.3 million confirmed cases and more than 190,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.