Book Claims Trump Knew Coronavirus Was Deadly, But Played it Down

The allegations were made by American journalist Bob Woodward in his upcoming book titled ‘Rage’.

3 min read
The allegations were made by American journalist Bob Woodward in his upcoming book entitled Rage.

US President Donald Trump allegedly played down the severity of COVID-19 all through January and February by telling his people that the virus is "going to disappear", despite being fully aware and that it was "more deadly than even your strenuous flus", writes American journalist Bob Woodward in his upcoming book titled Rage, reports CNN.

The book goes says President Trump betrayed public trust and failed to keep the country safe, while first admitting in private, knowledge of the deadly virus in early February and then conceding in March that it was all done as he did not want “to create panic.”

What Did Trump Know, but Didn’t Tell?

According to the Woodward, President Trump’s head ‘popped up’ during a top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Room on 28 January this year, when National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned that the pandemic would be “the biggest national security threat” the President would face during the presidency.

National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger added that it could be as worse as the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed around 50 million people worldwide, including 6,75,000 Americans.

Although Trump banned flights from China three days later, Woodward writes that the President continued “to reassure the public they faced little risk" during several high-profile appearances that followed.

Why Did Trump Hide Information?

Woodward next spoke to President Trump on 7 February, two days after the Senate cleared the latter of impeachment charges. During that conversation, President Trump admitted that the virus is air-borne and is even "more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

“Right? But the air, 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. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
President Trump, as quoted by Woodward. 

Even though President Trump knew the virus was airborne, during his visit to India on 25 February, he said that it was a “problem that's going to go away” and that the number of cases would “go down to zero in the next few days.”

On 19 March, President Trump told Woodward that he " wanted to always play it down," despite having declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Trump said.


Rudderless Leadership: Book Quotes Dr Fauci

According to the book, US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci told others that President Trump’s was ‘rudderless’ in his leadership and that his attention span was ‘in minus’.

Woodward in his book claims that Dr Fauci told others that Trump’s sole purpose ““His sole purpose is to get reelected.” Dr Fauci however denied having said any such thing.

"If you notice, others have said that. You know, you should ask others. I don't recall that at all," Fauci said in an interview to Fox News.

Trump ‘Dangerous, Unfit’

Not just his handling of the coronavirus crisis, President Trump was allegedly criticised by the likes of former Defense Secretary James Mattis. In his book, Woodward quotes Mattis as saying that Trump is "dangerous, unfit" and has "no moral compass". Mattis is also quoted as saying that Trump took foreign policy actions that showed adversaries "how to destroy America".

Woodward writes that former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats "saw how extraordinary it was for the president's top intelligence official to harbour such deep suspicions about the president's relationship with Putin. But he could not shake them."

(With inputs from the CNN and The Washington Post)

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