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Date: 2024-05-27 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00019504

The Trump Saga
Another book

Trump privately called coronavirus 'deadly' while comparing it to flu publicly: Woodward book

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
Trump privately called coronavirus 'deadly' while comparing it to flu publicly: Woodward book Trump privately called coronavirus 'deadly' while comparing it to flu publicly: Woodward book


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President Trump acknowledged the danger of COVID-19 in recorded interviews even as he publicly downplayed the threat of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, according to a new book from Bob Woodward.

Trump told The Washington Post journalist in a March 19 interview that he 'wanted to always play it down,' according to the first excerpts from Woodward's latest book, 'Rage,' as reported by The Washington Post. But he was privately aware of the threat of the virus

'You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “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 added.

His comments to Woodward are in sharp contrast to the president's public diagnosis of the pandemic.

In February he repeatedly said the United States had the situation under control. Later that month, he predicted the U.S. would soon have 'close to zero' cases. In late March, during a Fox News town hall in the Rose Garden, Trump compared the case load and death toll from COVID-19 to the season flu, noting that the economy is not shuttered annually for influenza.

Trump has been sharply criticized for his handling of the pandemic, with Democrats and public health officials seizing on his tendency to dismiss the seriousness of the threat in the early days. The U.S. has the highest reported number of infections and deaths from the virus of any country in the world at 6.3 million and roughly 190,000, respectively.
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