President Donald Trump admitted that he wanted to publicly downplay the threat of the coronavirus even as his advisors warned him about the dangers of the disease, Bob Woodward wrote in his forthcoming book about the Trump administration.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in mid-March, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
CNN, which also published audio of Woodward’s March 19 interview with the president, reported that Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7.
Trump’s admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”
Despite a tape of the president saying he downplayed the coronavirus — and despite him saying on that tape that he still likes “playing it down” — White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing later Wednesday that Trump “never downplayed the virus.”
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) September 9, 2020