Indefatigable journalist Bob Woodward (yes, THAT Bob Woodward) is reporting ahead of the release of a new book that President Trump knew full well — from day one — about the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic BUT INTENTIONALLY DOWNPLAYED THE THREAT TO AMERICANS.
As The Washington Post explains (we’re excerpting a bit more than we would normally because of the gravity of this news):
President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
“It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff.”
— President Trump on February 7, 2020
Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “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 for emphasis.
At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.
Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. [Pols emphasis]
“I always wanted to play it down.”
— President Trump on March 19, 2020
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Trump is just going to deny he said any of this and we’re just going to go around in circles about it for months and months.
But there are tapes.
Go over to The Washington Post or CNN and listen to the audio yourself. There’s nothing to misinterpret. President Trump repeatedly says that he knew the coronavirus would lead to a deadly pandemic, but he downplayed it for months and discouraged social distancing measures (and mask wearing) because…well, apparently because he could.
There’s also a Colorado-specific angle to all of this. Trump told Woodward about the dangers of COVID-19 on February 7, 2020. Two weeks later, on February 20, Trump held a massive campaign rally in Colorado Springs.
Trump KNEW that it was dangerous for thousands of people to be congregating in one place to hear him speak. Trump KNEW how the coronavirus could spread if just one of the people in attendance were infected.
But he did it anyway.
This is your President, America.