Bob Woodward thinks Trump failed the American public by lying about the coronavirus

Famed journalist Bob Woodward appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday night where he spoke about his recently released conversations with President Trump. For his new book Rage, Woodward had multiple recorded conversations with Trump. In the recordings, Trump can be heard telling Woodward in February and March about the dangers of the coronavirus, a stark contrast to what the president said publicly. In public, Trump downplayed the coronavirus, even saying it would magically disappear as warmer weather crept in.

“It goes, it goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, 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,” Trump is heard saying in a recording from February 7, adding, “It’s also more deadly than your, you know, your, even your strenuous flus. This is more deadly. This is five per—you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent. You know, so, this is deadly stuff.”

In another recording, from March 19, Trump says, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Woodward believes Trump’s misrepresentation of the coronavirus to the public was a mistake and a failure on the part of the president.

“I think he did not understand the American public,” Woodward said. “And he said, ‘Well, I don’t want to create a panic.’ We know from history when the public is told the truth they organize. We have a problem, we’re going to step up. And Trump thought, ‘Oh, well, they’ll panic.’ When there’s a crisis, when the president, particularly, knows something, it’s time to tell the public in some form. He failed.”

Woodward also believes Trump’s lying about the coronavirus was a dereliction of duty.

“The President of the United States has a duty to warn,” Woodward said. “The public will understand that, but if they get the feeling that they’re not getting the truth, then you’re going down the path of deceit and cover-up.”

And Woodward reflected on a conversation he had with Trump in August, in which, the president said nothing more could have been done to fight the coronavirus.

“Nothing more could have been done. Does he remember what he told me back in February about it’s more deadly than the flu?” Woodward asked. “I mean, it almost took my breath away that there was such certainty when he was absolutely wrong about the issue that defines the position of this country right now.”

60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBS

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