President Donald Trump admitted on Wednesday he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in order not to cause panic after excerpts from a forthcoming book made the bombshell revelation that he knew how deadly the pandemic could be even as he said it would go away.
‘I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love this country. I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic,’ he told reporters at the White House.
‘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, we want to show strength as a nation. That’s what I’ve done,’ he added
‘Leadership is about confidence. Confidence is confidence in our country,’ he noted.
His admission comes after excerpts appeared from Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book on the Trump administration, where, in recorded interviews, the president spoke privately about the deadly nature of the coronavirus even as he was publicly downplaying the severity of COVID-19.
In recorded interviews that were revealed Wednesday afternoon, Trump – who regularly speaks of his disdain for much of the ‘fake news’ media – spoke liberally with Woodward about his inner-thoughts on the virus and private conversations with Kim Jong-un – despite having called an earlier Woodward book a ‘con on the public.’
‘This is deadly stuff,’ the president told the Watergate reporter, Washington fixture and author who has interviewed U.S. presidents going back to Nixon.
President Donald Trump admitted he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in order not to cause panic
TRUMP’S TWO VERY DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF VIRUS TRUTH
PUBLIC: JAN. 22
‘We have it totally under control. It’s one person, coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.’ – During CNBC interview on sidelines of Davos economic forum in Switzerland.
PRIVATE: JAN. 28
Woodward says Trump’s head ‘popped up’ when his National Security Advisor told him in a ‘jarring’ warning the virus was the ‘biggest national security threat’ he faced.
PUBLIC: JAN. 30
‘Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be. But we´re working very closely with them and with a lot of other people and a lot of other countries. And we think we have it very well under control.’ – During trade event in Michigan.
PRIVATE: FEB. 7
‘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.’ – Trump phone interview with Woodward.
PUBLIC: FEB. 10
‘I think the virus is going to be – it´s going to be fine.’ – During New Hampshire rally.
PUBLIC: FEB. 26
‘The 15 (case count in the U.S.) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. … This is a flu. This is like a flu.’ – During White House coronavirus task force briefing.
PUBLIC: MARCH 6
‘You have to be calm. It´ll go away.’ – During visit to Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PUBLIC: MARCH 7
‘No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I´m not. No, we’ve done a great job.’ – After working dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
PUBLIC: MARCH 13
‘We’ve done a great job because we acted quickly. We acted early. And there´s nothing we could have done that was better than closing our borders to highly infected areas.’ – During Rose Garden announcement declaring a national emergency.
PRIVATE: MARCH 19
‘Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old- older. To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don´t want to create a panic.’ – Interview with Woodward.
PUBLIC: MARCH 24
‘I’m also hopeful to have Americans working again by that Easter – that beautiful Easter day.’
PRIVATE: MARCH 30
‘I want to keep the country calm. I don´t want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you.’ – Responding to reporter’s suggestion that he offered false assurances to Americans.
Trump didn’t deny the comments – he has previously blasted stories he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’ – but offered an explanation instead.
‘We don’t want to instill panic. We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody,’ the president explained when asked about the discrepancy between the remarks he made to Woodward and the remarks he made in public at the time.
And when asked by DailyMail.com how the American people could trust what he says going forward, Trump said: ‘It’s a big part of trust. We have to have leadership, show leadership. The last thing you want to do is create a panic.’
He said repeatedly his public statements in February downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, which has taken 200,000 American lives to date and counting, was to avoid causing chaos and confusion.
‘We don’t want to have to show panic. We’re not going to show panic. That’s what I did,’ he said.
And he called the book – the latest in a series of books painting his administration in a poor light ‘another political hit job.’
‘Whether it was Woodward or anybody else, you cannot show a sense of panic or you’re going to have bigger problems,’ the president said.
The president shared his stark assessment with Woodward in recorded phone interviews in February, as the virus was spreading from China to other parts of the world.
‘You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,’ Trump told him in a Feb. 7 call.
‘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 had been briefed on the virus in the Oval Office Jan. 28th, as Washington Post excerpts describe.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned him: ‘This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,’ according to Woodward.
O’Brien’s deputy, Matthew Pottinger, warned the threat was akin to the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 50 million worldwide.
Trump’s head ‘popped up,’ at the ‘jarring’ warning.
But in public it was an entirely different story. After the briefing he was he was telling the nation the virus is ‘going to disappear’ and would ‘all work out fine.’
Trump told the nation Jan. 30: ‘We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.’
He told the nation Feb. 2: ‘Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China.’
Feb. 7 – the date of the Woodward call – is the same date Trump tweeted about China’s president: ‘Nothing is easy, but [Chinese President Xi Jinping] … will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.’
Trump continued: ‘Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!’
Trump then told Woodward in a March 19 interview explaining his comments: ‘I wanted to always play it down.’
‘I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,’ he said.
Bob Woodward interviewed the president as the virus was raging
Don’t panic: This was the scene inside a makeshift morgue outside Wyckoff Hospital a in the Brooklyn borough of New York on April 4, 2020.
Trump spoke to Woodward about his conversations with China’s President Xi Jinping as the pandemic unfolded
18 INTERVIEWS WITH DONALD TRUMP – HOW ‘BIGGEST STAR’ WOODWARD GOT HIS SCOOP
Woodward conducted 18 interviews with Trump between December and July, according to the Post.
THE WOODWARD TAPES: TRUMP ON…
Coronavirus (February 7)
‘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.’
Who it affects (March 19)
‘Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people bad. Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people.’
The truth about COVID (March 19)
‘I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.’
How bad it is (April 5)
‘It’s a horrible thing. It’s unbelievable.’
The danger (April 13)
‘It’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it.’
Barack Obama (undated)
‘I don’t think Obama’s smart. I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker.’
‘Far beyond smart.’ ‘Tells me everything.’
‘I met. Big f***ing deal. It takes me two days. I met. I gave up nothing.’
Authoritarians like Turkey’s Erdogan
‘It’s funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You know? Explain that to me someday, okay?’
The top ranks of the military
‘My f***ing generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.’
Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (early February)
‘Hate! See the hate! See the hate!’
‘I’ve done a tremendous amount for the Black community. And, honestly, I’m not feeling any love.’
‘You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you.’
As in his prior work, he relies on anonymous sourcing and ‘deep background’ information.
Trump was convinced that if he had talked to Woodward, it could have led to a more favorable depiction in the book, according to the officials.
Trump had always held Woodward in high regard – he considered the journalist as the biggest star in the field – and told aides that he insisted on being interviewed if Woodward were to write again, the officials said.
‘Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,’ Woodward writes in the book, which follows exposes on the internal workings of administrations for decades.
‘There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.’
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, turned in a harsh review of Trump’s actions in private – even as he tries to temper comments in public.
Woodward quotes Fauci calling Trump ‘rudderless’ and saying his ‘attention span is like a minus number.’
‘His sole purpose is to get reelected,’ Fauci told an associate, according to the book.
‘IT’S NOT MY FAULT.’ TRUMP’S FINAL WORDS TO WOODWARD – WHO HE’S NOW BLASTING FOR A ‘HIT JOB’
Trump, who has taken to calling COVID-19 the ‘China virus’ did not appear to share any more personal regrets with Woodward than he does in public. ‘The virus has nothing to do with me. It’s not my fault,’ he told Woodward July 21.
At the White House, where a scheduled briefing was delayed by an hour amid the release of excerpts, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany brushed aside repeated questions about how Trump could share grave warnings with Woodward while publicly saying the virus would go away.
‘The president was expressing calm. The president was hopeful that we would be able to manage this and handle it in a way that we can make it go away as quickly as possible. The president rose to the occasion and did just that,’ she said.
She also referenced the financial markets. ‘He took this seriously but he still expressed calm. Our food supply chains were at risk. We could not have mass runs on grocery stores. The markets – Also the economy was in play here. We didn’t want there to be a huge crash and panic,’ she said.
‘DANGEROUS’ AND DID PUTIN HAVE SOMETHING ON HIM? DEVASTATING VERDICTS OF MATTIS AND COATS
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis once heard President Donald Trump disparaging top military brass, as he and other national security professionals had deep-seated concerns about the president, according to Bob Woodward’s new book.
Mattis heard Trump say in a meeting, ‘my f***ing generals are a bunch of pussies,’ because the military leaders cared more about alliances than trade deals, the book gave as the president’s reasoning.
Mattis, who quit the administration in December 2018 after Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, talked to Woodward and called Trump ‘dangerous,’ ‘unfit’ and said he had ‘no moral compass,’ according to excerpts obtained by CNN.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis overheard the comment and also told Woodward he believed Trump was ‘dangerous,’ ‘unfit’ and said he had ‘no moral compass’
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats ‘continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had something on Trump,’ the book said
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT TRUMP
Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary
‘There may come a time when we have to take collective action.’ ‘Dangerous. He’s unfit.’ ‘The president has no moral compass.’
Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence
‘To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.’ He was sure that Trump had chosen to play on the dark side — the moneyed interests in the New York real estate culture, and international finance with its corrupt, anything-to-make-a-buck dealmaking. Anything to get ahead, anything to make a deal.
Dr. Tony Fauci, head of NIH
‘Rudderless.’ ‘His attention span is like a minus number.’ ‘His sole purpose is to get reelected.’
Jared Kushner, son-in-law, advisor
The goal is to get his head from governing to campaigning.’
George W. Bush, former president
‘He’d misconstrue anything I said.’
‘He’s the wrong man for the job.’
He said he quit ‘when I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid.’
Mattis also believed Trump’s actions on the global stage gave adversaries a playbook on ‘how to destroy America.’
After he left the administration, he and Dan Coats, the former director of national intelligence, discussed whether they should take ‘collective action’ and come out publicly against Trump.
Coats ‘continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had something on Trump,’ Woodward wrote.
‘How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation,’ the famed Watergate journalist continued.
Coats and his staff members had ‘examined the intelligence as carefully as possible’ and the DNI still had questions about Trump and Putin’s relationship. ‘
‘Coats saw how extraordinary it was for the president’s top intelligence official to harbor such deep suspicions about the president’s relationship with Putin,’ Woodward said. ‘But he could not shake them.’
CNN and then The Washington Post posted excerpts Wednesday, minutes before White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was due to brief the press – a briefing that was delayed.
It will be difficult for the White House to refute sections of the book.
Woodward taped his interviews with Trump, with some audio clips included on CNN’s webpage. He also talked to a number of high-profile ex-officials on-the-record, like Mattis.
The ‘bunch of pussies’ quote was documented in real time thanks to Mattis, who asked an aide to put it in an email to him.
Trump criticized military officials in an intervew with Woodward too.
‘I wouldn’t say they were stupid, because I would never say that about our military people,’ Trump said.
But he went on to complain about U.S. alliances with NATO and South Korea.
‘But if they said that, they – whoever said that was stupid. It’s a horrible bargain … they make so much money. Costs us $10 billion. We’re suckers,’ Trump told the journalist.
Trump has been under fire for nearly a week for comments he reportedly made about America war dead as documented in an explosive article in The Atlantic, calling them ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’
He dug the hole deeper by then suggesting Monday that Pentagon brass send soldiers to war because they want to appease defense companies.
Trump suggested that while soldiers are pleased with him, ‘the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.’
On Tuesday, the Army’s most senior official rejected that notion – while also claiming that he wasn’t responding directly to the president’s comments.
‘I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it’s required for national security and a last resort,’ Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Defense One. ‘We take this very, very seriously how we make our recommendations.’
McConville also pointed out that a number of top commanders have children who are serving in the military.
WHY I KEPT THE TRUMP TAPES SECRET UNTIL NOW BY BOB WOODWARD
Woodward, facing widespread criticism for only now revealing President Donald Trump’s early concerns about the severity of the coronavirus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he needed time to be sure that Trump’s private comments from February were accurate.
‘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?’ Woodward told the AP during a telephone interview.
Using a famous phrase from the Watergate era, when Woodward’s reporting for the Post helped lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, Woodward said his mission was to determine, ‘What did he know and when did he know it?’
On Twitter and elsewhere online, commentators accused Woodward of valuing book sales over public health. ‘Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything substantial to keep the country informed,’ wrote Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce.
The issue of daily journalists presenting newsworthy information in books isn’t new.
The competition for attention is intense, and headlines help boost sales and guest shots for interviews.
Reporter Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times recently attracted attention for his book, ‘Donald Trump v. The United States,’ by reporting new details on an unannounced visit by Trump to Walter Reed military hospital in November 2019. Schmidt reported that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert that he might have to briefly assume the powers of the presidency if the president had to undergo a procedure that required anesthesia.
Pence later said he didn’t recall being put on standby for the Reed visit, which the White House has said was part of the president´s routine annual physical. But Schmidt´s book renewed speculation about Trump’s health.
Political figures with book deals also have been chastised for holding back timely material. Former national security adviser John Bolton, whose scathing memoir ‘The Room Where It Happened’ came out in June, declined discussing Trump’s actions towards Ukraine while the impeachment hearings were being held earlier this year.
Woodward’s book, which comes out next week, draws from 18 conversations with Trump between December and July.
During his AP interview, Woodward said Trump called him ‘out of the blue’ in early February to ‘unburden himself’ about the virus, which then had few cases in the U.S.
But Woodward said that only in May was he satisfied that Trump’s comments were based on reliable information and that by then the virus had spread nationwide.
‘If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,’ Woodward said. At that point, he said, the issue was no longer one of public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out before the election in November.
‘That was the demarcation line for me,’ he said. ‘Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.’
Asked why he didn’t share Trump’s February remarks for a fellow Post reporter to pursue, Woodward said he had developed ‘some pretty important sources’ on his own.
‘Could I have brought others in? Could they have done things I couldn’t do?’ he asked. ‘I was on the trail, and I was (still) on the trail when it (the virus) exploded.’
LOVE LETTERS TO ‘BEYOND SMART’ KIM, THE HAPPY UNCLE KILLER
Kim referred to Trump in letters as ‘your excellency’ – an exalted term usually favored by royalty,’ according to Bob Woodward’s new book, ‘Rage,’ which includes portions of what Kim wrote to Trump.
Trump has referred to writings exchanged by the two men as ‘love letters,’ but has refused to disclose them, even while teasing their contents to the press.
In one letter excerpted in the book, King refers after a summit to ‘another historic meeting between myself and Your Excellency reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film.’
He called his Trump meetings a ‘precious memory’ and said it showed that the ‘deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force.’
The two men met first in Singapore in 2018 after having traded bellicose rhetoric, then later met in Hanoi. In June 2019 the two men met when Trump walked from South Korea across the DMZ.
‘I feel pleased to have formed good ties with such a powerful and preeminent statesman as Your Excellency,’ Kim wrote Trump, in excerpts published in the Washington Post.
Deploying flowery language, Kim – who holds hereditary rule in a regime that has relied on terror and featured famine – fondly recalled ‘that moment of history when I firmly held Your Excellency’s hand at the beautiful and sacred location as the whole world watched with great interest and hope to relive the honor of that day.’
North Korean dictator King Jong-un refers in a letter to Trump to ‘another historic meeting between myself and Your Excellency reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film,’ in a letter quoted by Bob Woodward in his book
‘I feel pleased to have formed good ties with such a powerful and preeminent statesman as Your Excellency,’ Kim wrote Trump
Trump called the dictator ”beyond smart.’ Here Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019
He said Kim ‘tells me everything’ – including what the Post termed a ‘graphic account’ of having his uncle Jang Song Thaek (r) killed
Trump name-checked Kim in a conversation with Woodward while dissing former President Barack Obama.
‘I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker,’ Trump said of the noted orator. He said Kim thought Obama was ‘an a******.’
Trump shared with Woodward that he found Kim ‘far beyond smart.’ He said Kim ‘tells me everything’ – including what the Post termed a ‘graphic account’ of having his uncle killed.
Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was reportedly executed by a firing squad of anti-aircraft guns. A defector told CNN he was forced to watch the murder of his colleagues and blood was poured on his face.
HIS LEADERSHIP IS ‘RUDDERLESS’ AND HIS ATTENTION SPAN IS LIKE A MINUS NUMBER’: DR. FAUCI’S MEDICAL REPORT
The nation’s top infectious disease expert made the comment to an associate, according to Woodward’s book ‘Rage.’ Excerpts of the book came out Wednesday.
Trump’s ‘attention span is like a minus number,’ Woodward quotes Fauci as saying. ‘His sole purpose is to get reelected,’ according to the book, which reports Fauci told other players that Trump ‘is on a separate channel’ and wasn’t focussed in meetings.
Those searing comments, contained in Washington Post excerpts, came on a day Fauci said he is ‘frustrated’ by large political gatherings where many people aren’t wearing masks – even as he once again sought to temper what might come off as public criticism of Trump.
Fauci called on public officials to ‘set an example’ following a Trump rally in North Carolina attended by thousands of people.
Fauci, who for months has tried to balance his desire to share public health warnings without drawing headlines that put him at odds with President Trump, was asked on ‘CBS This Morning’ if it was frustrating for him as an expert to see rallies with large contingents of unmasked people.
‘The president continues to hold these massive rallies where people are not wearing masks including the president himself,’ interviewer Gayle King asked Fauci.
‘Well, yes, it is. I’ve said that often,’ Fauci responded. ‘That situation is we want to set an example. Because we know that when you do four or five typical kind of public health measures: mask, physical distance, avoiding crowds, making sure you do most things outdoors versus indoors,’ he continued.
‘Those are the kinds of things that turn around surges and also prevent us from getting surges. So I certainly would like to see universal wearing of masks,’ he said.
‘His sole purpose is to get reelected,’ infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci is quoted as saying about Trump in a new book by Bob Woodward
Fauci spoke as many states have reached a plateau in their coronavirus cases, but the nation has not yet experienced the steep downward slope some nations have achieved. The U.S. has experienced more than 190,000 deaths from COVID-19, with more than 6 million infections.
Fauci spoke hours after Trump staged two campaign rallies, one in Jupiter, Florida and another in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Hundreds gathered for the outdoor event, where the Winston-Salem Journal reported red hats outnumbered masks 100-1. A bank of people seated immediately behind Trump did include many people wearing masks.
Trump himself didn’t wear one.
BIDEN: HE ‘KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY LIED’
Democratic nominee Joe Biden tore into President Donald Trump for the revelations contained in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book: that he knew how serious COVID-19 was, while telling the American public something vastly different.
‘He knew and purposely played it down,’ an aghast Biden said Wednesday on a campaign trip to Michigan. ‘Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.’
In the CNN excerpts of the book, which include audio of Woodward’s conversations with the president, Trump tells the journalist on February 7 that COVID-19 ‘goes through the air’ and is ‘more deadly’ than the flu.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden went after President Donald Trump Wednesday for knowing just how dangerous the coronavirus was in February but downplaying it for months to the American people
Biden held a campaign event in Michigan that was supposed to be about preventing the offhosring of jobs, but he dedicated the top of his speech to the startling revelations found in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book
‘So this is deadly stuff,’ Trump adds, passing along information he had gotten the day before from China’s President Xi Jinping.
A month and a half later, on March 19, Trump told Woodward he had been purposely downplaying the virus’ seriousness.
‘I wanted to always play it down,’ Trump said. ‘I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.’
Cut to September and many of Trump’s own supporters don’t appreciate the seriousness, as the president has held mass gatherings over the last few weeks where fans huddle together in close confines and don’t wear masks.
Biden, on the other hand, has showed an overabundance of caution while trying to spend more time out on the campaign trail after spending months Zooming into events from his Delaware basement.
At Biden’s Michigan event Wednesday, attendees’ chairs had circles around them, and they were instructed not to leave that space.
‘Please remain in your circles and keep your mask on for the duration of the event,’ an overheard announcement said.
During his speech, Biden said his mask was only off because he was able to properly social distance – and the event was held outside.
The Woodward book has Trump saying in his own words that he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus because he didn’t want to start a ‘panic.’ To this day, many Trump supporters don’t take the pandemic seriously, as they gather tightly at his campaign events with many not wearing masks
Biden began his speech, which he was reading from a teleprompter, to pause and explain to the press why he didn’t initially answer a shouted question at the airport about the Woodward book.
‘We found out just getting off the plane the press asked me a legitimate question that I did not have the background on because it occurred on the plane,’ Biden said mid-sentence, and then went back and re-started the prepared remarks.
It was clear, a minute later, that the speech had been updated, with Biden specifically addressing Woodward’s reporting.
‘On the day that we hit 190,000 dead in the United States because of COVID-19, we just learned from The Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the president of the United States has admitted, on tape, in February that he knew about COVID-19, that it passed through the air,’ Biden said. ‘He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu.’
Biden then turned to Trump’s comments about intentionally downplaying it.
‘And while this deadly disease ripped through our nation he failed to do his job on purpose,’ Biden said. ‘It’s a life and death betrayal of the American people.’
Biden then mentioned some statistics, he claimed 54,000 lives could have been saved had Trump acted just two weeks earlier.
‘He’s unfit for this job as a consequence,’ Biden said.
‘How many schools aren’t open right now? How many kids are starting the new school year the same way they ended the last one – at home. How many parents feel abandoned and overwhelmed?’ Biden continued.
He said he worried American healthcare workers are ‘exhausted and pushed to their limits.’
‘And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures?’ Biden said.
The former vice president called it ‘beyond despicable.’
‘It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace,’ Biden said.
Earlier, the Trump campaign held a call with reporters saying that their aim Wednesday was to prove Biden was bad on China, with campaign adviser Steve Cortes trying to stick the former vice president with the nickname ‘Beijing Biden.’
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which originated in China, was the biggest headline out of Woodward’s book, which also featured juicy nuggets like Trump calling his military commanders a ‘bunch of pussies.’
Biden had planned to go to Michigan to talk about the continued off-shoring of jobs.
‘It’s fascinating to me that Joe Biden is trying to masquerade as an economic nationalist,’ Cortes said on the earlier call, as Trump won in 2016 in places like Michigan for talking about bad jobs and trade policies.
The Biden plan called for an ‘offshoring tax penalty’ on profits from products made abroad and then sold in the United States.
At the event, attended by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Biden vowed to help American industry and properly label American made products.
‘We found out on Trump’s watch a company selling deployment bags to active duty troops being deployed, falsely claimed its product was made in America, when it fact it was really made mostly in China,’ Biden said. ‘Trump didn’t do anything to respond.’
‘I’m not going to let that happen on my watch,’ he continued, making the pitch to have a dedicated office at the White House so ‘everybody is playing by the same ‘Made in America’ rules.’