According to a new book written by legendary journalist Bob Woodward, Donald Trump admitted that he knew weeks before the U.S. gad a confirmed case of a coronavirus death that the virus was airborne, dangerous, highly contagious, and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward back on February 7.
Trump did a series of interviews with Woodward and during those interviews, he revealed that he had a high level of detail about the previously unknown virus.
“Pretty amazing,” Trump told Woodward. He then added that the virus was “maybe five times more deadly” than the flu.
Trump’s statements to Woodward in no way match the public comments that he made about the virus at the time. During February and March Trump stated that everything would “work out fine” and that the virus would simply “disappear.” Woodward shares Trump’s own words in his new book and he clearly lays out how Trump betrayed the public trust and the responsibilities of his office.
The new book titled “Rage” Trump admits to Woodward that he knew back in early March how deadly the virus would be and he admits that he intentionally kept that knowledge hidden from the public.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward back on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
However, had Trump not downplayed the virus and acted to protect the nation in early February with a shutdown, social distancing, hand washing and mandatory mask-wearing thousands of American lives could have been saved.
CNN obtained a copy of Woodward’s book ahead of its September 15 release. The 18 interviews included in the book were conducted between December 5, 2019, and July 21, 2020. Woodward recorded the interviews and CNN obtained copies of the audio recordings as well.
Within the pages of “Rage” are also brutal assessments of Trump’s presidency from his former top national security officials, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
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Mattis refers to Trump as “dangerous” and “unfit.” Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump.” Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, “How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation.”
Dr. Fauci also spoke with Woodward and stated that Trump’s leadership was “rudderless” and that his “attention span is like a minus number.”
“His sole purpose is to get reelected,” not protect the people he represents Fauci added.