Trump Acknowledges He Intentionally Downplayed The Coronavirus Despite Knowing It Was Deadly

President Donald Trump hosts a roundtable event celebrating law enforcement in the East Room of the White House on July 13, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

By Victor Omondi – Donald Trump acknowledged downplaying the Coronavirus at the beginning of the year even though he knew the virus was deadly and much more serious than the seasonal flu.

In one of a series of interviews journalist Bob Woodward conducted with Mr. Trump on February 7 for his upcoming book, Rage, the President said, “This is deadly stuff.” CNN and Washington Post were given advance copies of the book, and on Wednesday, the details were published. CNN also released audio of Trump’s conversation with Woodward during the interview.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” the U.S President said. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

It’s something completely different from what Mr. Trump was telling the public. Earlier on, in March, the President was claiming on Twitter that the virus was less deadly than the flu. Trump admitted that he was downplaying the virus because he didn’t want to create panic.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

“He knew and purposely played it down,” Mr. Biden said during a speech in Warren, Mich., Wednesday afternoon. “Worse, he lied to the American people.”

Later on Wednesday, in remarks at the White House, Trump acknowledged the report. The President said he was trying to exude confidence with his statements and denied claims that the that publicly minimizing the threat of the virus had cost lives.

He also acknowledged speaking with Mr. Woodward.

“I gave him some quotes, and frankly, we’ll see how the book turned out,” Mr. Trump said. “I have no idea.”


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