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President Trump has misled the public on how deadly COVID-19 is, according to Watergate reporter’s tapes

Published on 10/09/20 at 01:05pm
Photo by Exchanges Photos

President Trump knew how much more deadly coronavirus was than the flu, despite public comments saying that the threat of the virus was overblown. 

This comes from a series of recordings from veteran journalist Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal, and interviewed the President multiple times from December 2019 until June this year for his new book titled Rage. Recordings of these interviews were released to the media. 

In public, Trump has frequently minimised the risk of coronavirus. In February, Trump said the virus was the Democrat’s “new hoax”, and on 27 February Trump said the virus would disappear like a “miracle”. On 9 March, he compared it to the common flu and on 10 March, Trump had said if people stayed “calm” then the virus would go away, but just over a week later declared a national emergency. 

On 7 February, Trump told Woodward: “It goes through the air. That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, 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 flus. This is deadly stuff.”

On 19 March, he also told Woodward: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic.”

Trump has responded to the recordings. Speaking at a White House event yesterday, he said: “Well, I think if you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that's so. The fact is I'm a cheerleader for this country. I love our country. And I don't want people to be frightened. I don't want to create panic, as you say, and certainly I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength.”

Conor Kavanagh

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