President Trump gave a lengthy interview to veteran journalist Bob Woodward which he allowed to be taped, just two days after he was acquitted and the Senate impeachment trial had ended.
There were several interviews privately recorded with The Washington Post journalist, to be used for his book, “Rage,” which will be released Sept. 15.
Instead of talking about the impeachment during the February 7th interview however, Woodward was ‘surprised’ that Trump was focused on COVID-19, the deadly virus gripping Wuhan, China.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward, adding that the virus was possibly five times “more deadly” than the flu. Trump also told Woodward that the virus was airborne.
CNN was quick to report that “Trump knew in February that the virus was deadly” and released a clip of this interview
This is the tape: ?pic.twitter.com/ozX8O8fVKm
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 9, 2020
Trump defiantly knew of the risks of the pandemic and this would appear to be damming news. It gets even worse as multiple sources have reported, including the Washington Post, Trump told Woodward on March 19th “Well I think, Bob, really, 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”
Here is where it gets interesting: it has been repeatedly reported that Jan. 28, national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump regarding the virus, “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency. This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”.
However, the media has repeatedly neglected to point out that Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases; the authority on COVID-19, the man lauded and quoted and looked at as a hero by the media and the public at large, was repeatedly downplaying the virus as well. Let’s take a look.
Dr. Fauci appeared on News Max TV on January 21st and said:
“Obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kind of things the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Department of Homeland Security is doing. But this is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”
Here is the clip:
On January 26th
Fauci gave an interview(LINK HERE) with John Catsimatidis, a NY entrepreneur and radio host in New York.
“What can you tell the American people about what’s been going on?” Catsimatidis asked. “Should they be scared?”
“I don’t think so,” Fauci said. “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.”
And over a week after the Trump interview with Woodward, USA TODAY reported on Dr. Fauci’s views on COVID-19. Fauci said that the risk to the US is “minuscule,” and that people shouldn’t wear masks. This article was published on February 17th
Fauci doesn’t want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is “just minuscule.” But he does want them to take precautions against the “influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.”
“We have more kids dying of flu this year at this time than in the last decade or more,” he said. “At the same time people are worrying about going to a Chinese restaurant. The threat is (we have) a pretty bad influenza season, particularly dangerous for our children.
So it would appear almost as if Trump was more concerned with the virus than Dr Fauci himself. If anything both Fauci and Trump were “downplaying” the virus.
Biden is going to pounce on this, the anti-Trump media will use the Woodward interview as an emotional talking point and further demonize Trump.
However, based on the timeline of these quotes, Trump was receiving mixed messages. Fauci was still considering the possibility of a full pandemic in the US a “hypothetical” as late as the end of February ; while the National Security Adviser was telling Trump that COVID could be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency.
One thing is for sure, Biden screaming that “Trump knew and didn’t care” is a complete falsehood. Will this fresh talking point make a dent in Trump’s quest for re-election?
Once you look at Fauci’s downplaying of the virus: the Woodward tapes, if anything make Trump appear more “on the ball” than the director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases himself.
Trump also suspended flights from China on January 31st, Biden incidentally was calling that an act of “xenophobia”
In breaking developments:
Fauci went on Fox News and said that President Trump “did not distort anything and acted immediately when he was presented the data.”Fauci just went on Fox News and said that President Trump “did not distort anything and acted immediately when he was presented the data.”
Dr. Fauci says that he never got the sense that President Trump was downplaying COVID-19:
“I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything. In my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had.” pic.twitter.com/2zQ4tMZY2I
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 9, 2020