Trump Admitted to Lying to Downplay Coronavirus Threat

Trump admitted he was trying to downplay the severity of Covid-19 in recorded interviews just released from journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book Rage, according to Vox.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said on March 19, according to CNN, which received an audio recording of the interview, and The Washington Post. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Trump told Woodward in several interviews that he was aware of the threat of the coronavirus as early as January. Trump also publicly compared the coronavirus to the flu in early March, arguing that Covid-19 hadn’t killed as many people nationwide as the flu does. He also acknowledged to Woodward the Coronavirus could infect young people as well as older people. The U.S. now ranks in the bottom 20 percent for Covid-19 deaths among wealthy nations worldwide.

President Trump is now reacting to Woodward’s new book, but has not denied he sought to downplay how serious the virus is. Instead, Trump is defending his words and said he was simply trying not to “create panic.” Trump has also denounced the book as a political “hit job,” according to ABC News.

His admissions starkly contrast his repeated public comments that had insisted the virus was just “going to disappear.” Woodward’s book also includes interviews with many of Trump’s former top national security officials some of whom said he is “unfit” to be president. The book is scheduled to be published next Tuesday.