Did President Donald Trump know exactly how the deadly spread of COVID-19 could endanger millions of Americans?
The White House rushed to respond to audio released by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who recorded 18 conversations between himself and Trump over the past year as part of his new book on the White House.
Woodward’s newest Trump book, “Rage”, claims that the president knew earlier than he told the public how deadly the coronavirus was before it spread across America.
The White House responded that Trump’s response to Woodwards questions was being taken out-of-context by CNN and others, and that the president was trying to keep the public calm and avoid “panic.”
According to the book, and Washington Post reports, Trump was warned Jan. 28 that the virus would be a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump then said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated.
Trump told Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” the president said.
The statement came after he had declared a national emergency response to the virus, the White House pointed out.
As a result of the book, Democrats claim Trump lied to the American people and put their lives at risk.
9 drugs linked to Alzheimer’s disease? [sponsored]
Trump’s White House quickly responded to the bombshell audio recordings.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that Trump’s communication about the virus in the public eye was “expressing calm.”
“When you are facing insurmountable challenges, it is important to express confidence, it is important to express calm.”
She asserted that the Trump’s administrative action has saved the lives with his executive orders, such as the mass acquisition of ventilators under the Defense Production Act.
Amid the pandemic, Trump has been wary of causing “chaos” among the American people, McEnany said. According to the book, the president shutdown travel in and out of China at a time when the move was considered largely unpopular.
McEnany also mentioned that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led the COVID-19 task force, has repeatedly praised Trump’s response to the virus. It was in response to Fauci’s criticism of the Trump administration, which Woodward also recorded.
“Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” Woodward writes. “There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.”
The Washington Post, where Woodward serves as associate editor, reported excerpts of the book, “Rage” on Wednesday, as did CNN. The book also covers race relations, diplomacy with North Korea, and a range of other issues that have arisen during the past two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this article