September 9, 2020

Business ‘I still like playing it down’: Trump told veteran journalist he ‘always’ downplayed threat of COVID-19 to avoid causing ‘panic’


  • Round per week after President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a nationwide emergency, he advised ragged journalist Bob Woodward that he “wanted to continually play it down” in public.
  • Woodward performed seven interviews with Trump for his impending e book, of which CNN got a reproduction, alongside with audio from their on-the-file discussions.
  • “I aloof admire having fun with it down, because I don’t desire to make a scare,” Trump acknowledged.
  • Trump has many cases downplayed the threat of COVID-19, but Woodward’s interviews masks Trump had a extra acute sense of its severity early on than previously known to the public, telling the Watergate reporter that COVID-19 is “extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.” This contradicts Trump’s many public statements evaluating COVID-19 to the flu.
  • Consult with Industry Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

President Donald Trump advised Bob Woodward he “repeatedly” downplayed the threat of COVID-19 in expose to steer obvious of causing scare, consistent with the ragged journalist’s upcoming e book, “Rage,” which CNN got before its September 15 release.

“I wished to continually play it down,” Trump advised Woodward on March 19. “I aloof admire having fun with it down, because I don’t desire to make a scare,” Trump added.

This remarks came roughly per week after Trump declared a nationwide emergency over the virus. 

Woodward performed a sequence of 18 interviews with Trump, in which the president published he knew a ways extra about the hazards of the virus than previously reported, consistent with CNN. 

The president additionally advised Woodward wait on in February that the virus is “lethal stuff” and “extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.”

Within the identical March interview, Trump advised Woodward that “Now or no longer it is turning out or no longer it is no longer staunch ragged other folks, Bob,” referring to how fatal the coronavirus is, consistent with audio CNN got.

—Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 9, 2020

White Home Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed the e book at some level of her press briefing on Wednesday.

“The president has repeatedly been obvious-eyed with the American other folks,” McEnany acknowledged.

“No one is lying to the American other folks.”

Trump has many cases downplayed the threat of COVID-19. Within the early days of the outbreak, Trump instructed that the virus wouldn’t spread at scale within the US, even as top public smartly being experts warned that Americans may perchance well even aloof prepare for severe disruptions to day by day existence. 

On February 26, as an illustration, Trump acknowledged the quantity of COVID-19 cases within the US would be “discontinuance to zero” in a “couple of days.” The US now has the very supreme recorded quantity of COVID-19 cases within the sphere (over 6.3 million), and doubtlessly the most confirmed deaths (almost 190,000). The president additionally misleadingly in contrast the virus to the flu, though or no longer it is proven to be a ways extra lethal. 

A month after telling Woodward the coronavirus is “extra lethal” than the flu, he aloof in contrast it to the flu on Fox Records to make a case for why financial shutdowns were unwarranted: “Now we indulge in had detrimental flus. I mean, believe it. We common 36,000 other folks. Death, loss of life.” 

Trump additionally advised Woodward on Feb. 7 that the virus was airborne, a conclusion the public arrived to grand later as a consequence of a prevailing ragged wisdom that COVID-19 was easiest contagious on surfaces.

“It goes thru the air,” Trump acknowledged. “That is repeatedly more difficult than the touch. You set up no longer must touch issues. Accurate? However the air, you staunch breathe the air and that’s how or no longer it is handed. And so as that is a extremely no longer easy one. That is a extremely fine one. It be additionally extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.”

Trump has additionally consistently flouted ideas from public smartly being experts — significantly that folks wear masks or face-coverings on every occasion in public or unable to smartly social distance. All the device in which thru his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination closing month, a crowd of over 1,500 other folks gathered on the South Garden of the White Home. Many didn’t wear masks, and there was regularly ever any residence between chairs, prompting scare from top medical examiners. 

Similar to his reported feedback to Woodward on having fun with down the threat of COVID-19, Trump in gradual March acknowledged that he “knew it’d be detrimental.”

“I knew all the pieces. I knew it’d be detrimental, I knew it’d be perchance vivid,” Trump acknowledged at a White Home press briefing on March 31. “I don’t desire to be a adverse particular person.”

Trump acknowledged he wanted to be a “cheerleader” for the US and give Americans “hope.”

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