Washington— President Trump admitted to journalist Bob Woodward in March that he publicly downplayed the hazards of thecoronavirusas a result of it silently unfold the world over, hoping to protect away from a dread at the same time as he recognized how “lethal” the virus might probably nicely probably be.
Woodward interviewed the president for a complete of 9 hours for his uncommon information, “Rage,” and audio clips of the recorded interviews have been revealed by CNN and The Washington Put up on Wednesday.
In an interview with Woodward on February 7, Mr. Trump mentioned he had now not too extended in the past spoken to Chinese language President Xi Jinping concerning the virus, calling it a “tricky self-discipline.” The president mentioned the coronavirus modified into “extra lethal” than “even your strenuous flus,” and good wanting to deal with as a result of “it goes by air.”
“Right here is lethal stuff,” Mr. Trump mentioned. Three days later, the president mentioned at some stage in an event with the nation’s governors that “moderately about a folks deem that goes away in April with the warmth, because the warmth is accessible in,” alongside with the U.S. is in “mighty shape.”
In a single different interview with Woodward on March 19, the president conceded that he modified into downplaying the threat of the virus in public.
“I wished to continuously play it down. I aloof like taking part in it down, because I kind no longer want to method a dread,” Mr. Trump informed Woodward. The Trump administration modified into uninteresting to help carrying a conceal in public, and the president himself many circumstances pushed states to reopen their economies in the spring,repeatingas uninteresting as April that he believed the virus will “ward off.”
On March 25, Mr. Trump informed journalists on the White Residence that nobody might probably nicely occupy foreseen the pandemic, which had by that point shut down grand of the economic system. “Nobody would ever factor in a part like that’s that you simply likely can factor in,” he mentioned at a White Residence briefing. “Nobody would possibly possibly well occupy ever seen something like this coming, but now we know, and we’re mindful about it should always occur and occur all as soon as more.”
Mr. Trump on Wednesday referred to the information — for which he carried out 9 hours of interviews — a “political hit job.”
“It be appropriate one other political hit job … I gave him some quotes,” the president mentioned.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, White Residence press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that the president took the virus severely from the start, no topic the president’s occupy phrases that he publicly downplayed the virus’ seriousness.
Requested if the president intentionally misled the general public concerning the seriousness of the virus, McEnany claimed, “Fully no longer.”
“The president has continuously been clear-eyed with the American folks,” McEnany mentioned, claiming Mr. Trump “by no technique downplayed the virus.”
Woodward experiences in his information that Nationwide Security Adviser Robert O’Brien warned Mr. Trump in a January 28 briefing that the virus modified into the “biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.” Mr. Trump later informed Woodward that he did now not take be aware O’Brien’s remark.
“I’m sure if he said it — you already know, I’m sure he said it. Good man,” Mr. Trump informed Woodward in a Might 6 interview.
In his last interview with Woodward in July, the president washed his arms of any accountability for the unfold of the virus in the U.S., which has now killed virtually 190,00zero Americans.
“The virus has nothing to full with me,” Mr. Trump informed Woodward. “It be no longer my fault. It be — China let the damn virus out.”
The president’s remarks to Woodward drew a fierce rebuke from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who accused Mr. Trump of negligence and mentioned he’s unfit to relieve one different length of time.
“While this lethal illness ripped by our nation, he failed to full his job on cause,” Biden mentioned at some stage in an event in Warren, Michigan on Wednesday. “It modified into a lifestyles and dying betrayal of the American folks.”
The inclined vp mentioned Mr. Trump “knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.”
In preserving with CNN and the Put up, Woodward quotes inclined Cabinet officers in his information and paperwork their frustrations with Mr. Trump’s administration. Damaged-down Protection Secretary Jim Mattis is quoted in the information as announcing the president is “harmful,” “unfit,” and has “no gorgeous compass.” Woodward moreover obtained larger than two dozen letters exchanged between Mr. Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whereby Kim assuredly flattered the president.
Woodward defended his choice to select his reporting about Mr. Trump’s considerations over the severity of the virus in an interview with the Related Press. Woodward mentioned he desired to be sure Mr. Trump’s feedback from February have been applicable.
Woodward interviewed the president larger than a dozen circumstances whereas reporting the information, and recorded your complete on-the-file programs. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner will seem on “60 Minutes,” on Sunday, September 13 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS for his first interview concerning the revelations in “Rage,” which is revealed by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.