President Donald Trump knew, weeks before the first death from coronavirus was confirmed in the country, that it was a dangerous disease, highly contagious and much more deadly than the seasonal flu. But he still minimized it in public, per new audiotapes released by he author Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”
Woodward, whose book is based on interviews with Trump, notes that during a Jan. 28 intelligence meeting at the White House, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien warned Trump that the coronavirus pandemic “will be the biggest threat to national security that he faces in his presidency ”, according to excerpts published by The Washington Post.
A month later, Trump called Woodward and told him that he believed the situation was much more serious than he was saying in public. “You just breathe and that’s how it is transmitted. It is something very delicate. It is also much more deadly than the strongest flu. This is deadly,” Trump told Woodward.
The book notes that Trump had very detailed information about the threat posed by the virus. The president told the journalist that the coronavirus was probably five times “more deadly” than influenza. However, in public, Trump’s speech was very different. He insisted, for a long time, that the virus was “going to disappear” and that “everything would be fine.”
On March 19, days after declaring a national emergency due to Covid-19, Trump acknowledged, in another call with Woodward, that “I always wanted to minimize it.” “I keep minimizing it, because I don’t want to create panic,” he said.
CNN’s Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju, reported the following on the release of Trump’s conversation with Woodward:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reacted to the revelation that Trump downplayed the pandemic. The president, accused the Democrat, “purposely failed to do his job. It was a life and death betrayal of the American people.”
Biden state in a press conference, ” [Trump] knew how deadly the virus was, that it was far more deadly than influenza. He knew it and purposely downplayed it. Worse, he lied to the American people. Knowingly, and willingly, he lied about the threat it posed to the American people country for months.”
Trump has defended his management against the coronavirus as the best in the world and affirms that if it weren’t for his prompt action, the country would be much worse off than it is. However, according to a report by John Hopkins University, the nation most affected by the coronavirus, with 6,354,869 cases and 190,589 deaths, is the United States.