President Donald Trump knew way back in January precisely how serious the threat Covid-19 posed to the USA used to be, but at all times wanted to “play it down”, according to a forthcoming book by legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward.
“This would be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump all the way through an Oval Office assembly on January 28, Woodward writes in the book, Rage, according to The Washington Post, where Woodward works as an associate editor. “This is going to be the roughest object you face,” O’Brien had added.
Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and said in an on-record interview: “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.”
“And in order that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very fragile one. It’s also more lethal than even your strenuous flu,” he said in the interview, which used to be released on Wednesday and aired by news channels. “This is lethal stuff.”
But the president conveyed an altogether different message to the American public then, as he does now. He had said that the threat to the USA from the coronavirus used to be ephemeral and will by some means be over magically.
“I wanted to at all times play it down,” the president told Woodward in another interview on March 19.
Trump is battling continuing criticism of his handling of the pandemic, with allegations that he intentionally downplayed it and ignored advice of his health experts so that you could not negatively have an effect on his re-election chances. His administration’s response has polled poorly with Americans as mannered.
But the president has fought back, claiming he did mannered by shutting down the country from travellers from China early, ramping up production of ventilators and protective gear for health care personnel.
Woodward’s book is based on several on-record interviews with the president, and will sign up for a growing collection of accounts scrutinising Trump’s character and performance in office in the weeks close the November 3 elections.
It covers the president’s response to the anti-racism unrest, meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and lots of other issues.