Trump acknowledged the seriousness of COVID-19 particularly to Bob Woodward in early February

Trump acknowledged the seriousness of COVID-19 particularly to Bob Woodward in early February

US President Donald Trump admitted in February that he knew how dangerous the spread of the new Corona virus was, but played it down because he did not want to cause panic, according to interview records for a new book.

The recordings were obtained by CNN and based on a new book, Anger By veteran journalist Bob Woodward, weeks before the presidential election on November 3, Trump’s efforts to fight COVID-19 have been heavily criticized for coming too late.

According to interviews, CNN and the Washington Post reported, Trump knew the virus was particularly deadly in early February.

“It is in the air,” Trump said in a recording of an interview with Woodward on February 7. “This is always tougher than touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s the way it passes.”

“And this is very difficult. It’s very sensitive. It’s also more deadly than your tired nose.”

Moments later, Trump used the killer term again: “These are deadly things.”

“I always wanted to play it”

The Republican president, who has come under heavy criticism by Democratic opponent Joe Biden for the slow response of the US government to the Corona virus, played down the importance of the virus for months as it spread rapidly across the country.

On February 26, for example, he told reporters in a White House briefing that the 15 official cases the United States had at the time would soon be reduced to a few.

Journalist Bob Woodward speaks during a roundtable discussion prior to an event in Montreal in 2019. (Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press)

Two days later, he told a rally in South Carolina that the coronavirus was their “new trick,” referring to Democrats.

“I’ve always wanted to reduce it,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, days after declaring the national emergency. “I still like to belittle it, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

In that conversation, Trump also told Woodward that some “surprising facts” had just emerged about the targets of the virus: “It’s not just the old, the old, the young too, a lot of young people.”

Trump stands by his words and actions

Asked about the comments during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Trump said he did not want to fear people, but instead wanted to show confidence and strength as a nation.

“We have done well from any level,” he told reporters. “It was an amazing job we did.”

When asked whether lives would have been saved had he been more honest during his briefing in February and March, he said that if he had not done what he had done, again referring to his decision to partially close the border with China, millions of people would have died.

“I think we’ve done a great job in every aspect,” he said. “The last thing we can show is panic or excitement or fear and whatever else.”

Watch | Trump was asked whether he deliberately misled Americans about the seriousness of the Coronavirus:

US President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday whether he has misled the American public about the seriousness of the Corona virus. 2:17

Biden praises the governor of Michigan

In an appearance in Michigan where he met with auto makers, Biden criticized Trump, citing a study previously published by Columbia University arguing that had the United States taken aggressive mitigation measures earlier in March, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved.

“It was a life or death betrayal of the American people,” Biden said.

“He is unfit for this job as a result.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during his campaign hiatus on Wednesday in Warren, Michigan, where he unveiled proposals for new jobs if elected and criticized Trump for neglecting the pandemic file. (Leah Meles / Reuters)

Biden drew a contrast between Trump and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was attending the Warren, Michigan event. Witmer faced criticism and protests after the spring lockdown measures were implemented.

“If you’re wondering what strong and responsible executive leadership looks like in COVID-19, just look at this CEO here,” Biden said.

“I listened to the experts and led with science,” he said of Whitmer.

The White House opposes Woodward’s book

Trump’s approach to dealing with the Coronavirus has skewed in recent weeks from officially telling the country that it will “get worse before it gets better” in late July, to promoting the reopening of the economy and the resumption of professional sports and personal lessons in universities and schools.

After holding a heavily criticized indoor rally in Oklahoma in early July, Trump resumed outdoor gatherings and held a Republican convention attended by hundreds in person with few physical distances on the last night, unlike the Democratic Party convention which was largely hypothetical. .

While Trump has encouraged physical distancing in other circumstances and has been eagerly promoting potential treatments, he has expressed his resistance to promoting the wearing of the mask, and at times objected to sober evaluations by the government infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

On Monday, the president chided a Reuters reporter for not taking off his mask while posing a question.

While Trump and other administration officials have spent recent months criticizing China for its handling of the virus, which first appeared in Wuhan in January, this kind of accusation was absent from the Woodward excerpts released.

“I think he will be in good shape,” Trump said of Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping in the February 7 phone call.

Woodward has given 18 interviews with Trump for the book, scheduled for release on September 15. The veteran journalist, best known for covering Watergate alongside fellow Washington Post Carl Bernstein, has long documented presidents of the United States, including Trump, in a previous book, the fear.

White House Press Secretary Kylie McNani said Trump has not intentionally misled Americans about the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “The president did not downplay the virus.” “The president showed calm.”

She again referred to Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China from February 2, although he has since learned that there are loopholes in the restrictions and that many infections in the hard-hit New York state have been tracked to travel from Europe.

Democratic members of Congress quickly took over the report, including the hashtag #Trumpknew.

California Congressman Jackie Speer said: “It is an offense for POTUS to admit that he knew COVID was deadly but put on a happy face telling the American public, ‘It’s like a miracle, it’s going to go away.'” “He did that for one reason – to prop up the stock market and be re-elected. Now 190,000 Americans tell a different story.”

Among the other discoveries in the book were Trump’s insulting remarks to US military commanders. He drew criticism last week after reports of discrediting dead soldiers and veterans.

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