Trump told Bob Woodward he knew in February that COVID-19 was 'deadly stuff' but wanted to 'play it down'
|Story Source with images
|President Donald Trump acknowledged the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic in February interview with journalist Bob Woodward, and acknowledged downplaying the threat in a March interview, according to an account of Woodward's new book.
“I wanted to always play it down. I don't want to create a panic," Trump said in a March 19 call with Woodward, according to an audio clip posted on The Washington Post's website. The newspaper obtained a copy of his book "Rage," which is scheduled to be released next week.
Trump was briefed on the virus in January, according to Woodward.
"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward in a Feb. 7 phone call.
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump told Woodward, according to the Washington Post. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
The book says Trump was given dire warnings in January about the virus that would lead to a worldwide pandemic in March.
“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump on Jan 28, according to the book. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”