You are watching: He knew what he was getting into
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images
President Donald Trump identified the risks of the coronavirus pandemic in a February interview with journalist Bob Woodward and acknowledged downplaying the risk in an interview a month later, according to an account that Woodward"s new book.
“I wanted to constantly play the down. Ns still prefer playing it down since I don"t desire to develop a panic," Trump stated in a march 19 call with Woodward, according to one audio clip posted Wednesday ~ above The Washington Post"s website. The newspaper obtained a copy that the book, "Rage," i beg your pardon is scheduled to it is in released next week.
In the same interview, Trump identified that the an illness was an ext deadly than he formerly thought.
"Now it"s turning out it"s not simply old people, Bob. Yet just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It"s not simply old, older," trumped said, according to an audio clip, and also then added, "young people, too, many of young people."
Trump is locked in a challenging re-election battle versus Democratic nominee Joe Biden, v his poll numbers sagging together he proceeds to get low marks from voters for exactly how he taken on the response to the virus.
Trump, speak to reporters Wednesday afternoon, claimed he"d to be trying to avoid "panic" and also was mirroring "leadership."
"We have actually to show calm," that said. "Certainly I"m no going to journey this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to present confidence. We have to show strength."
He sidestepped a question around whether lives can have been saved if he had actually been much more forthright about the threats posed through the virus.
"I think if us didn"t do what we did, we"d have had millions die," trumped said.
Of his approach, trump card said, "We don"t desire to go roughly screaming, "Look in ~ this, look in ~ this.""
Washington Post: Trump speak Bob Woodward he deliberately downplayed severity that coronavirusSept. 9, 202002:37
Biden listed Wednesday the over 190,000 american have died from the coronavirus and also called Trump"s indigenous "beyond despicable."
"It to be a life-and-death betrayal of the American people," Biden said.
Woodward"s publication is based upon 18 on-the-record phone calls he had with Trump native December come July. Woodward, a highly respected veteran journalist who is an combine editor that The Post, likewise attributes details about the internal workings of the White house to a series of interviews through unnamed aides.
Woodward details the Trump was briefed top top the virus in January.
"This is deadly stuff," Trump called Woodward in a Feb. 7 phone call.
“You simply breathe the air and that’s exactly how it’s passed,” Trump called Woodward, according to The Post. “And so it is a very tricky one. It is a an extremely delicate one. The also more deadly than also your strenuous flu.”
The book says trumped was provided dire warnings in January around the virus that would lead to a global pandemic in March.
“This will certainly be the greatest national defense threat you confront in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Trump top top Jan. 28, according to the book. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
Trump blocked some Chinese nationals indigenous coming into the nation in the job after the briefing, yet he continued to play down the risk posed through the virus and also repeatedly compared it come the flu.
“We only have 5 people. Hopefully, everything"s walking to be great,” Trump said Jan. 30. A couple of days later, that said, “We pretty much shut it under coming in from China.”
Despite the early warning around the virus"s deadliness and also its capacity to it is in transmitted v the air, Trump ongoing to organize packed political rallies throughout February and told reporters at the White home on Feb. 27: "This is a flu. This is choose a flu."
On march 9, main after the told Woodward the the coronavirus was more than 5 times deadlier than the flu, trump card tweeted: "So critical year 37,000 Americans passed away from the usual Flu. That averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is closeup of the door down, life & the economic situation go on. In ~ this minute there are 546 confirmed instances of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think around that!"
Pelosi: trump wanting to play down influence of coronavirus mirrors 'total disregard' because that familiesSept. 9, 202003:05
House speak Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., slammed the president Wednesday in one interview on MSNBC, speak his "downplaying" cost lives.
The "denial about the hazard is responsible for countless of the deaths and infections that we have actually today, not every one of them, but many of them, can have been prevented,” Pelosi said Andrea Mitchell.
The book likewise sheds additional light on exactly how much distrust some of Trump"s peak officials had actually in the president.
Woodward recounted a conversation — which he attributed to unnamed sources — between Dan Coats, climate the director of nationwide intelligence, and also James Mattis, who was the defense secretary at the time, in i beg your pardon Mattis told Coats, “The president has no ethical compass.”
Coats agreed, follow to the book.
"To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what the thinks. The doesn’t understand the difference in between the truth and a lie,” Coats is quoted through Woodward together saying.
According to the book, trump card — who came under fire last week for having reportedly referred to dead U.S. Organization members as "losers" and "suckers" — had tiny regard for his very own generals.
In a conversation with trade adviser Peter Navarro, trump card complained: "My fucking generals space a bunch the pussies. Castle care an ext about their alliances than lock do around trade deals.” The sources for that account were not named.
Navarro said reporters later Wednesday that Woodward had put "words in my mouth" the he had never said for his last book. "I don"t believe a word of what Bob Woodward says," Navarro added.
Woodward also drew part criticism on social media, together well, where some complained the he need to have spoken up around Trump"s comments lot earlier. Woodward said The linked Press that he was originally skeptical that Trump wasn"t being truthful.
“He speak me this, and also I’m thinking, ‘Wow, it is interesting, yet is the true?’ Trump claims things that don’t check out, right?” Woodward said the AP. He said that Trump called him “out of the blue” in early February to “unburden himself” around the virus and that the wasn"t satisfied that Trump’s comments were based upon reliable info until May.
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Trump did no sit because that an interview through Woodward, the legend Watergate reporter, for the author"s ahead book, "Fear."
Trump sought to discredit the brand-new book before it to be published, tweeting critical month the the publication "would it is in a FAKE, together always," in spite of his very own involvement.