President Donald Trump admitted in February that he knew how deadly and contagious the novel coronavirus was, but did not pass this information on to the American people because he did not want to create panic, according to interviews with Trump cited in a new book.
The recorded interviews, obtained by CNN and based on a new book titled “Rage” by reporter Bob Woodward, came out just weeks before the November 3 presidential election and as Trump’s efforts to fight COVID-19 took off. is the subject of strong criticism. little too late.
The Republican president, who was hammered home by Democratic opponent Joe Biden over the sluggishness of the US government’s response to the coronavirus, played down the virus for months as it took hold and quickly spread across the country.
“I always wanted to play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, days after declaring a national emergency. “I always like to minimize it because I don’t want to cause panic.”
In that conversation, Trump also told Woodward that “surprising facts” had just come out about the virus targets: “It’s not just old, older. Young people too, many young people
Trump on Wednesday defended his handling of the virus, which has killed more than 190,000 people in the United States so far, with new cases in the Midwest.
“The point is, I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country and I don’t want people to be afraid, ”Trump said at White House event
“We did well of any standard,” he added.
According to interviews, CNN and the Washington Post reported, Trump knew the virus was particularly deadly in early February.
“It goes through the air,” Trump said in a recording of a Feb. 7 interview with Woodward. “It’s always harder than touching it. You don’t have to touch things. Not true? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it happened. “
“And so this is a very delicate question. This is a very delicate question. It’s also more deadly than even your tiring flu.
A week after that interview, Trump told a White House briefing that the number of coronavirus cases in the United States “in a few days is going to be close to zero.”
Some Senate Republicans defended Trump’s response to the coronavirus on Wednesday.
“His actions in shutting down the economy were the right actions,” Trump ally Lindsey Graham said. “And I think the tone during that time sort of spoke for itself.
Woodward has conducted 18 interviews with Trump for the book, which is scheduled for release on September 15.
Other revelations from the book include Trump’s derogatory remarks about US military leaders. He drew criticism this week following reports he was bashing military personnel and fallen veterans.
In Woodward’s book, an aide to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis overheard Trump say in a meeting, “My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies” because they care more about alliances than they are. commercial agreements. Mattis asked for help documenting the comment in an email, CNN reported.
Regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, Woodward asked Trump for his take on the concept of white privilege and if he felt isolated by this privilege from the plight of black Americans.
” No. You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Listen to yourself, ”Trump replied, according to media reports on the book. ” Sensational. No, I don’t feel that at all.
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