always plays down
Confirming what many suspected all along, Watergate investigative reporter, best-selling author and Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward released audio files recently of President Donald Trump's real opinion on the severity of the global pandemic versus what he told the American public.
The POTUS admitted Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him in January that the virus was extremely deadly. But in calls to Woodward in February and March, Trump stated he deliberately downplayed the danger in his administration's response and in speeches to the public.
For Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of a global pandemic is entirely unfathomable and unacceptable.
"He knew how deadly is was, it was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down."
"Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willing lied about the threat it posed to the country for months."
"He had the information."
Donald Trump knew.
He lied to us for months.
And while a deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job — on purpose.
It was a life or death betrayal of the American people. https://t.co/WDmVUvmmJk
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 9, 2020
You can see Biden's remarks at an event in Warren, Michigan here:
Biden: He has the information. He knew how dangerous it was pic.twitter.com/gEllf0DIqm
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 9, 2020
Joe Biden: "He knew how deadly is was, it was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willing lied about the threat it posed to the country for months. He had the information."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 9, 2020
While President Trump's penchant for making false statements and spreading alternative facts has been an oft highlighted part of his presidency, most of his lies are not deadly.
Publicly calling a global pandemic a hoax, however, is.
Naively believing it was no cause for concern, despite reports to the contrary from health experts, would be disconcerting. But knowing the seriousness and choosing to downplay it is worse according to those outraged by the President's comments to Woodward.
You can see some of Trump's public statements here.
Trump in newly surfaced audio: 'I wanted to always play [the coronavirus] down. I still like playing it down' (March 19)
CNN has obtained Bob Woodward's new book 'Rage' in which the president admits he was hiding the truth about COVID-19 https://t.co/vmgVfa2wTb pic.twitter.com/6LDtnOzpMu
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 9, 2020
This contrasts with the conversations the POTUS had with Woodward.
You can hear one of those conversations here.
Trump tells Woodward he played down the threat of the coronavirus.
"I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic."
He also tells Woodward that "plenty of young people" are vulnerable -- different from his public message pic.twitter.com/fJZUZtJTIv
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 9, 2020
Oh Lordy, Bob Woodward has audio tapes as well as a new book which reveals that Predator trump in his own voice and words admitting he purposely hid info about Covid-19 and wanted to downplay it as much as possible. He murdered 194,000 Americans to stroke his ego. Lock him up.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) September 9, 2020
Trump stated to Woodward on February 7:
"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."
If the President believed this in February, his disdain for masks for months was disingenuous and endangered his supporters.
The same day Trump told Bob Woodward that the coronavirus was far more deadly than the flu, he shipped our PPE and other vital medical supplies to China. #TrumpKnew https://t.co/RAWe0Ka8CP
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) September 9, 2020
Trump also said in that February call:
"It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flu."
"This is deadly stuff."
Claiming the pandemic was no worse than the seasonal flu was a cornerstone of the public response however.
This is A CRITICAL TWEET. All networks should be running what Trump said on audio to Bob Woodward vs. what he said to Fox News and other networks ON THE SAME DAY.
What he did below.
That combination is CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. https://t.co/5r3O3hUHAf
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) September 9, 2020
In another call on March 19, Trump told Woodward:
"I wanted to always play it down."
The audio Bob Woodward has of Trump is just staggering. We knew #TrumpKnew what was going on. Now we can hear it for ourselves. It's just unreal.https://t.co/OmDhfuPV4U
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) September 9, 2020
Donald Trump admitted to Bob Woodward in a recorded interview that he knowingly and intentionally lied about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic
Nearly 200,000 Americans have died since he said these words.https://t.co/OQGvbnINjP pic.twitter.com/KymzH4Koez
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) September 9, 2020
What impact the President's deliberate deception had on the public perception of the danger is still visible.
Conspiracy theories and claims the pandemic is a hoax are actively being pushed on social media and by right wing pundits on Fox News and more fringe media outlets like OANN. Those who refuse to follow public health precautions are also acting on recommendations from the White House.
An exact death toll caused by the deliberate deception may never be known, but over 6.35 million people in the USA have been infected. Over 190,000 people have died.
Over 20% of all deaths from the pandemic have been in the USA. The United States comprises just 4% of the Earth's population.