Bob Woodward Book: Trump Says He Deliberately Lied About the Coronavirus Threat Even Though He Knew How Bad It Was
But he lied to the public for months afterward, downplaying the severity and predicting it would magically disappear.
Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, … told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
Ten days later, 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 said he lied to the public because he “didn’t want to cause a panic.” But we all know that’s bullshit; Donald Trump couldn’t care less about causing panics. He lives for causing panics.
He was concerned about one thing: his re-election. And he thought he could lie his way out of this crisis like he’s lied his way out of everything else his entire life. But the virus wasn’t listening to his lies.
Bob Woodward has the audio recordings.