Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal, wrote in his new book that US President Donald Trump knew that the coronavirus outbreak was much deadlier than the normal flu before it hit the US but wanted to downplay the pandemic.
The journalist interviewed the president for 18 times from December to July, and even before the first coronavirus-related death was recorded. He quoted Trump as saying to him that the virus was “deadly”. According to the data compiled by John Hopkins University, since the pandemic broke out in the country the US has so far recorded more than 190,000 deaths.
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However, in response to the new book, Trump has maintained that he wanted to avoid public panic over the outbreak. That is why he downplayed the pandemic. On Wednesday, some local media houses also released some parts of interviews between the journalist and president, revealing his reported remarks on various issues, including virus, race, and other domestic issues.
The book reveals that he knew about the severity of the pandemic but never expressed it in public. The tape of the call between Trump and Woodward in February suggests that Trump knew the coronavirus was deadlier than the flu. However, that month Trump publicly promised that the coronavirus outbreak in the country was under control, and the count would be soon close to zero.
When the White House declared the pandemic a national health emergency only nine days later, he told the journalist that he always wanted to play it down because he does not want the public to panic. Meanwhile, the president preparing for his re-election bid in the upcoming November’s presidential election, called Woodward’s book a political hit job.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said that the president failed to do his job while respiratory disease ripped through the country.
Regarding the racial tension in the country, Bob Woodward said that when he brought up the Black Lives Matter protests in a conversation with Trump, he again maintained that he had done more for the African-American residents that any other president in the history of the country.
In May, following the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody, sparked nationwide anti-racism protests, calling to end the systematic racism and police brutality. Moreover, Washington Post also reported that when Woodward asked the president about the systematic racism, he replied that it exists everywhere but less in the US.
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