Recordings made by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward in February, when Donald Trump was telling Americans that the COVID-19 virus would miraculously disappear, reveal that the president knew that the virus was contagious, airborne, and deadly, and had been told by national security adviser Robert O’Brien that “this will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency. This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
The recordings were made during interviews for Woodward’s new book Rage.
CNN reports: “The book, using Trump’s own words, depicts a President who has betrayed the public trust and the most fundamental responsibilities of his office. … If instead of playing down what he knew, Trump had acted decisively in early February with a strict shutdown and a consistent message to wear masks, social distance and wash hands, experts believe that thousands of American lives could have been saved.”
The Washington Post reports: “Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly. ‘You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,’ Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. ‘And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.’ … ‘This is deadly stuff,’ the president repeated for emphasis. At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.”
“Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger,” the WaPo adds. “‘I wanted to always play it down,’ the president said.”
Listen to more of the recordings and see what he was telling the American people at the time in this segment from CNN: