(Written by Maggie Haberman
President Donald Trump acknowledged to journalist Bob Woodward that he had knowingly played down the coronavirus earlier this year even though he was aware it was “deadly” and vastly more serious than the seasonal flu.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7 in one of a series of interviews he conducted with the president for his upcoming book, “Rage.”
The Washington Post and CNN were given advance copies of the book and published details Wednesday.
This is President Trump on tape, on February 7, saying that the coronavirus is “more deadly than your – you know, your, even your strenuous flus.” But he minimized the threat in public. On February 26, he told the public “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.” pic.twitter.com/TOHTpqYtvZ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter September 9, 2020
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
That was a vastly different story than what Trump was telling the public.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
In public, Trump claimed early on that the virus would disappear, predicting in February that by April, “when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”