In a taped interview, Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, author of the forthcoming book "Rage," recorded President Donald Trump saying that he knew how deadly the coronavirus (COVID-19) was and, in a subsequent interview, that he planned to downplay its risk.
In a February 7 interview conducted by Woodward, Trump is heard on tape saying COVID-19 is "more deadly" than seasonal flu.
Trump also talked about playing down COVID-19 for the general public during a later interview with Woodward on March 19.
While Trump may have wanted to "play down" the pandemic as a way to avert panic and potentially avoid a disaster, it did exactly the opposite. By playing it down, Trump may have increased the public's willingness to take risks, to live their lives normally, and to not take the virus seriously.
Now there have been 6.3 million American coronavirus cases and nearly 200,000 deaths.
The first interview, on February 7, shows that Trump knew COVID-19 was more deadly than the flu and that he knew this before any deaths in the U.S.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward Feb. 7, 3 weeks before first US Covid death. "Pretty amazing," Trump sa… https://t.co/SLQroy8JaJ— Jeremy Herb (@Jeremy Herb)1599666929.0
The Trump administration played a major part in letting the pandemic grow to what it has become in the U.S. According to Vox, "Once the coronavirus arrived, Trump downplayed the threat, suggesting it would soon disappear 'like a miracle.'"
The content of the interviews has been explosive with the hashtag #TrumpKnew trending on Twitter.
Coronavirus has shut down the American economy and disrupted our everyday lives and as journalist Dan Rather put it, we have answers — but those answers were not something we ever expected or wanted to hear.
Once again, it’s those famous questions: What did the president know? And when did he know it? With COVID, we now h… https://t.co/obrTQgi21X— Dan Rather (@Dan Rather)1599670135.0