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Book: Trump said of virus, 'I wanted to always play it down'

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 10 September 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump talked in private about the “deadly” coronavirus last February, even as he was declaring to America it was no worse than the flu and insisting it was under control, according to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward. Trump said Wednesday he was just being a “cheerleader” for the nation and trying to keep everyone calm.

His public rhetoric, Trump told Woodward in March, was part of a strategy to deliberately minimize the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Trump, according to the book, acknowledged being alarmed by the virus, even as he was telling the nation that it would swiftly disappear.

Coming less than eight weeks before Election Day, the revelations in the book — accompanied by recordings Woodward made of his interviews with Trump — provide an unwelcome return of public attention to the president's handling of the pandemic that has so far killed about 190,000 Americans. He is currently pushing hard for a resumption of normal activity and trying to project strength and control to bolster his political position in his campaign against Democrat Joe Biden.

In a Feb. 7 call with Woodward, Trump said of the virus, "You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” “This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

Just three days later, Trump struck a far rosier tone in an interview with Fox Business: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”

Biden said Wednesday the book shows Trump “lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country...
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Video Credit: KCAL 9 CBS LA - Published
News video: Back On Campaign Trail, Trump Feels Impact Of Woodward Book Revelations

Back On Campaign Trail, Trump Feels Impact Of Woodward Book Revelations 03:57

President Trump was back on the campaign trail today and feeling the effects of the released pages from journalist Bob Woodward's book, which revealed that Trump admitted to publicly downplaying the virus while acknowledging its severity behind closed doors.

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