10 Sep 2020: Trump knew coronavirus was deadly, downplayed threat, claims Woodward's book
For the book "Rage," Woodward, of the Watergate fame, interviewed Trump a record eighteen times.
In one such conversation on February 7, Trump accepted, "This (COVID-19) is deadly stuff."
Statement: Trump was aware coronavirus was airborne, told Woodward about it
While talking to Woodward months ago, Trump stressed how fatal the virus is.
"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 flu," Trump said.
While in private, Trump spoke about the danger, in public he took a contrasting stand.
What he said: Trump said coronavirus was a "hoax" created by Democrats
Until the last week of February, Trump kept telling the US public that the virus wasn't as lethal.
On February 26, he said at the White House that coronavirus was just like the normal flu, whose shots would be available much quicker.
Two days later, he dubbed the health crisis a "hoax" created by Democrats, just like the Russian investigation and his impeachment.
What happened: Later, the President accepted he was "playing down" the crisis
However, in March, Trump again emphasized that coronavirus was deadly while speaking to Woodward. But this time, he made his intentions clearer.
"I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," he had said.
These revelations explain a lot about Trump's assumptions of the crisis eventually "subsidizing on its own."
Age: Trump also knew age doesn't guarantee immunity from the disease
On March 19, Trump again spoke about coronavirus with Woodward saying, "Part of it is the mystery. Part it is the viciousness."
He also spoke about the virus infecting lungs, adding that younger people aren't immune to it either. "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out," he added.
In sharp contrast, in August, Trump said children are almost "immune to the disease."
Book: In "Rage," Woodward said Trump failed to mobilize his administration
Assessing Trump's statements, Woodward wrote, "Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states."
According to the journalist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious expert, was also miffed with Trump's short "attention span."
"His sole purpose is to get re-elected," Dr. Fauci told an aide, wrote Woodward in "Rage."
BLM: Trump didn't show understanding or empathy towards Black lives: Woodward
Just two months before the election, Trump's words to Woodward don't seem to build a case for him.
According to the journalist, whose expose led to President Richard Nixon's ouster decades ago, the commander-in-chief failed to express empathy when quizzed about "Black Lives Matter."
When Woodward pressed him on issues about race, Trump kept talking about the economy being great for Black people, before the pandemic.
Kim and Putin: He said Putin "understood" how the allegations affected him
The President also spoke about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
"You meet a woman. In one second, you know whether or not it's going to happen," he said about Kim.
And about Putin said, "Putin said to me in a meeting, he said, it's a shame, because I know it's very hard for you to make a deal with us. I said you're right."
Statement: Just another political hitjob: Trump, naturally, dismissed the book
As details about what he knew surfaced, Trump was obviously criticized for not going public with it.
But on Wednesday, he defended his handling of the pandemic, calling Woodward's book a "political hitjob."
"Certainly I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy," he said, adding that US (with 195,239 deaths and 6,549,475 cases) was still faring better.
Fact: We have done an amazing job, Trump claimed
"We wanna show confidence, we wanna show strength as a nation, and that's what I've done. And we've done very well from any standard. You look at our numbers compared to other countries, other parts of the world, it's an amazing job that we've done," Trump told.
Decision: Trump opened White House's doors for Woodward with a motive
Reports said Trump chose to speak to Woodward for months — took him on a tour of the Oval office, called him at night, etc. — because he hoped the journalist's second book on his presidency would have a positive outlook.
When Woodward's "Fear: Trump in the White House" released, Trump maintained the book would have turned out better with his participation.
Defense: Separately, Woodward was also berated for withholding crucial information
The criticism, when excerpts of the book released, weren't just restricted to Trump; the writer was also slammed. Woodward was asked why he didn't release details earlier, a move that may have saved hundreds of Americans.
Defending his decision, Woodward said, "He tells me this, and I'm thinking, 'Wow, that's interesting, but is it true?' Trump says things that don't check out, right?"