Trump Knew of the Dangers of Coronavirus Early On
The American president knew at an early stage how dangerous the coronavirus is. Still, he continued to downplay the possible consequences of an outbreak publicly.
This is reflected in the new book Rage by journalist Bob Woodward, about which CNN and The Washington Post, among others, report.
At the end of January, Trump was informed by his advisers about the developments surrounding the virus. There, he was told by his national security adviser Robert O’Brien that the virus would be “the greatest threat” to national security during his presidency.
A week and a half later, Trump told Woodward that the situation is much more difficult than he had hinted at. “This is deadly stuff,” he said. “You just breathe in the air, and that’s how it spreads.” According to the president, the coronavirus was therefore much more deadly than the severe flu.
The comments are in stark contrast to how Trump spoke openly about the virus at the time. He called the virus a “low risk” in February and said it would disappear.
In March, Trump told Woodward that he deliberately wanted to downplay it. “Because I don’t want to cause panic.”
Woodward’s book, who was previously involved in discovering President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, will be out next week. It is based, among other things, on 18 interviews with Trump that he conducted in the past six months.