Recordings Prove Trump Intentionally Lied to Public About Virus Threat
“This is deadly stuff.”
On Feb. 7, Donald Trump told journalist and biographer Bob Woodward that he knew COVID-19 was deadly, “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” But months after that acknowledgement, the public facing narrative coming from the White House and directly from the president was that things were going to “work out fine,” that the virus would just “disappear.”
Behind closed doors, Trump admitted that was not at all the reality.
But damage was done and risk increased each time he and his staff took to the podium to claim the virus, which has now killed about 190,000 people in the U.S., was no big deal. Each time he mocked use of masks and pushed against shutdowns, he increased the risk. Each time he sowed mistrust in the data and expert warnings, including among those working on his own task force, he ballooned the risk. Each time he berated local officials for restrictive health orders and encouraged constituents to demand their communities reopen, he did more damage.
“Rage,” the Woodward book, will not be released publicly until Sept. 15. However, the recordings are spilling out and Trump’s own words are beyond damning. While he claimed he preferred to “play it down” to avoid causing a panic, he refuses to acknowledge that what he intentionally created instead was a broad swath of people who refused to protect themselves or others.
His actions in the public sphere resulted in an outbreak unparalleled anywhere else in the world. His denial is responsible for killing Americans.
Through it all, he knew what he was telling the public was absolute bullshit, and we have proof because Woodward, who had the benefit of insider White House access, unleashed recordings Wednesday.
#TrumpKnew about the deadly pandemic that has caused nearly 200,000 deaths in our country.
He did nothing but distract from the crisis and get in the way of our efforts to save lives. pic.twitter.com/xHaAtA2zeU
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) September 9, 2020
Trump cannot claim “fake news” or blame anonymous sources when the evidence is literally spilling out of his own mouth. He’ll try nonetheless, but it will take a remarkably high level of spin to dismiss this story – and honestly, the White House’s go-to denial routine isn’t likely to work on the masses, though it may work on his most fervent base.
Sadly, the virus is just as much a health risk for his base as it is for those who oppose him.
According to Woodward, Trump was warned by national security adviser Robert O’Brien that COVID-19 would be the “biggest national security threat” he’d contend with as president. That top secret intelligence briefing occurred Jan. 28.
Still, as recently as March, Trump was telling his supporters that the virus was nothing more than a Democrat “hoax.” Those statements were often televised and repeated, the false claims reaching millions of people who would later adopt anti-mask ideologies, many of whom would in turn attend super spreader events like what was seen in Sturgis or rallies the president himself drew people to, without concern for masks and social distancing.
Trump now claims the Woodward book is a “political hit job.” While we don’t know the author’s motives for sharing the information at this specific time, we can be certain of Trump’s motives, because Woodward used the president’s own voice and admissions to back up his claims ahead of the book’s release.
Trump’s lies cost human suffering in severe illness, death and destruction of the U.S. economy. Woodward’s recordings prove he knew exactly what he was risking.