Trump defends downplaying dangers of virus

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Woodward's forthcoming book RagePicture copyright
EPA

US President Donald Trump has defended his choice to downplay the dangers of Covid-19, saying his solutions to journalist Bob Woodward had been “correct”.

Woodward, known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, interviewed Mr Trump 18 occasions from December to July.

Mr Trump mentioned in February he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic.

He tweeted on Thursday that Woodward didn’t report his quotes for months. “He knew they had been good and correct solutions. Calm, no panic!”

Some 190,000 People have been recorded as dying with Covid-19 because the starting of the pandemic.

What did Trump say?

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for a lot of months. If he thought they had been so dangerous or harmful, why did not he instantly report them in an effort to avoid wasting lives?” Mr Trump mentioned.

“Did not he have an obligation to take action? No, as a result of he knew they had been good and correct solutions. Calm, no panic!”

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Media captionHow Trump’s perspective towards coronavirus shifted between March and April

The president – who’s operating for re-election in November – on Wednesday instructed reporters the Woodward e-book was “a political hit job”.

What has Woodward mentioned?

Woodward has been criticised for withholding the president’s remarks on the pandemic, with some saying it was an unethical choice.

The journalist provided a defence within the Washington Submit and Related Press on Wednesday, saying he wanted to examine whether or not what Mr Trump instructed him was correct.

“The most important drawback I had, which is all the time an issue with Trump, is I did not know if it was true,” Woodward instructed The Submit.

He additionally mentioned that it was vital for him to inform the story by the election, telling the Related Press: “Had I made a decision that my e-book was popping out on Christmas, the tip of this yr, that may have been unthinkable.”

The e-book, Rage, might be launched on 15 September.

What does the e-book say about Mr Trump and the virus?

Mr Trump indicated that he knew extra concerning the severity of the sickness than he had mentioned publicly.

In accordance with a tape of the decision, Mr Trump instructed Woodward in February that the coronavirus was deadlier than the flu.

“It goes by means of the air,” Mr Trump instructed the writer on 7 February.

“That is all the time harder than the contact. You do not have to the touch issues. Proper? However the air, you simply breathe the air and that is the way it’s handed.

“And in order that’s a really difficult one. That is a really delicate one. It is also extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.” 

Later that month, Mr Trump promised the virus was “very a lot underneath management”, and that the case depend would quickly be near zero. He additionally publicly implied the flu was extra harmful than Covid-19.

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Media captionThe misplaced six weeks when the US failed to regulate the virus

Talking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump mentioned: “Simply keep calm. It should go away.”

9 days later, after the White Home declared the pandemic a nationwide emergency, the president instructed Woodward: “I needed to all the time play it down. I nonetheless like enjoying it down, as a result of I do not wish to create a panic.”

What Trump was telling Woodward v saying publicly

28 Jan: Nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien tells the president: “That is the most important nationwide safety risk you’ll face.”

7 Feb: “That is lethal stuff,” he tells Woodward, much more critical than the flu.

23 Feb: “We’ve got it very a lot underneath management,” President Trump tells reporters.

26 Feb: On the 15 confirmed circumstances on the time, he tells a briefing: “inside a few days goes to be down to shut to zero, that is a reasonably good job we have accomplished”, implying that flu is much extra harmful.

27 Feb: The virus goes to “disappear”, he says.

10 March: “We’re doing an awesome job with it. And it’ll go away. Simply keep calm. It should go away,” the president says on Capitol Hill.

19 March: He tells Woodward he needed to play it right down to keep away from a panic.

What else did the e-book reveal?

On race

Woodward writes that he introduced up the Black Lives Matter protests in a dialog with the president on 19 June, suggesting that “white, privileged” folks like themselves should work to grasp how black People really feel.

“You actually drank the Kool-Help, did not you?” Mr Trump mentioned. “Simply hearken to you.”

The nationwide protests towards police brutality and racism had been sparked by George Floyd’s demise in Minnesota in Could.

Mr Trump additionally repeated the suggestion that he had accomplished extra for African People than any president other than Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery.

Later, on 8 July, Mr Trump once more reiterated that he had “accomplished an amazing quantity for the black neighborhood” however was “not feeling any love”.

The Washington Submit additionally cited an interview the place Woodward requested the president about whether or not America has systemic racism.

Mr Trump mentioned whereas these issues exist in all places, “I believe most likely much less right here than most locations, or much less right here than many locations”.

The president additionally acknowledged racism affected the lives of individuals within the US, saying it was “unlucky”.

On North Korea

Woodward’s e-book additionally cites dozens of letters between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Within the letters, full of flowery language, Mr Kim reportedly referred to Mr Trump as “Your Excellency” and famous their “deep and particular friendship will work as a magical power”.

In accordance with US media, Mr Trump instructed Woodward of his reference to Mr Kim: “You meet a lady. In a single second, you understand whether or not or not it may occur. It does not take you 10 minutes and it does not take you six weeks. It is like, whoa. OK. You realize? It takes considerably lower than a second.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Mr Trump wrote: “Kim Jong Un is in good well being. By no means underestimate him!” There have been sporadic stories about Mr Kim’s well being, including one in April that he was seriously ill or even dead.

On new weapons

The president additionally reportedly instructed Woodward about nuclear weapons programs in his conversations about North Korea. Different sources additionally confirmed the existence of a brand new weapons system, Woodward reported.

“I’ve constructed a nuclear – a weapons system that no person’s ever had on this nation earlier than. We’ve got stuff that you have not even seen or heard about,” he mentioned, in keeping with the Submit.

“We’ve got stuff that [Russian President] Putin and [Chinese President] Xi have by no means heard about earlier than,” Trump added.

On his predecessors

Mr Trump additionally reportedly instructed Woodward that he felt his predecessor, Barack Obama, was “extremely overrated”.

“I do not suppose Obama’s good,” Mr Trump reportedly mentioned. “And I do not suppose he is an awesome speaker.”

In accordance with CNN, Mr Trump instructed Woodward he made President George W Bush “seem like a silly moron, which he was”.

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