CNN published a “bombshell” report Wednesday unearthing a series of supposedly damning statements by President Donald Trump that show he understood the severity of the novel Wuhan coronavirus but concealed his own concern from the public to avoid inciting panic as the nation headed into a global pandemic.
According to CNN, which reported on comments made to veteran political journalist Bob Woodward in his forthcoming book, “Rage,” upon receiving select audiotapes of their interviews, Trump told Woodward he knew how lethal the virus was in early February but kept the knowledge to himself while dismissing its threat in March.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told the longtime Washington Post reporter on March 19, six days after declaring a national emergency. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Trump also reportedly told Woodward that he knew the novel coronavirus was “deadly stuff” that is “more deadly than the strenuous flu.”
Media Jump on Woodward’s Story
Legacy outlets immediately capitalized on the comments, perpetuating their anti-Trump narrative to paint the president as an incompetent bogeyman. This occurred less than a week after another “bombshell” hit piece by The Atlantic, built entirely on anonymous sources, failed to sink the Republican’s campaign less than two months from election day.
“Trump Admits Downplaying the Virus Knowing It Was ‘Deadly Stuff,’” titled a front-page piece in the New York Times.
“Trump Acknowledges He Intentionally Downplayed Coronavirus Threat,” followed the Washington Post cover.
“‘Deadly stuff’: The biggest bombshells from Woodward’s new book on Trump,” headlined Yahoo News coverage.
The hashtag “#TrumpKnew” immediately became a top trend on Twitter. Reporters leaped in to offer quick coverage. Democrats kicked into rapid response, wasting no opportunity with their media allies to characterize Trump as the president who let it all happen, allowing the country to sink under the weight of an overseas virus that wrecked the economy and claimed nearly 200,000 lives with it.
“So much of this pain could have been avoided, but President Trump refused to tell the truth or to act to protect the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Never mind that the virus spread was inevitable while it was brewing in China at the same time Pelosi pulled off a pointless impeachment stunt in Congress.
“It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people,” 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden added during a campaign event in Michigan. This is the same candidate who implied Trump’s China travel ban at the onset of the virus was xenophobic in order to appease the party’s woke base. “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty, a disgrace,” the former vice president charged.
Trump Said It All Publicly
A true and honest examination of the president’s past on coronavirus, however, reveals Woodward’s grand “revelations” to be no more than manufactured hysteria, conveniently released two days after Labor Day, which traditionally marks the beginning of the 60-day campaign season. Woodward defended his delay in reporting by claiming that releasing the tapes would somehow not inform the public of anything it didn’t know, emphasizing that Election Day on Nov. 3 was the “demarcation line.”
Indeed, Trump on numerous occasions had already been saying publicly what he told Woodward earlier this year, making Woodward’s book excerpts this week a flashback hit piece rebranded by a complicit media as a damaging revelation to indict the Trump presidency.
On March 30, Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta the exact same thing he told Woodward just a few days earlier.
“What do you say to Americans who are upset with you over the way you’ve downplayed this crisis?” Acosta asked, highlighting Trump’s comments that the virus would “disappear.”
“I wanna keep the country calm. I don’t want panic in the country,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. Did every reporter in attendance then have a big scoop to republish two days after Labor Day?
"I wanna keep the country calm. I don't want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 30, 2020
Then there’s this video from another White House press briefing with the same reporter again saying the same thing April 1.
“This is really easy to be negative about. But I want to give people hope too,” Trump said. “I’m a cheerleader for the country. We’re going through the worst thing that the country has probably ever seen.”
BOMBSHELL EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT!
I have rare footage of Trump saying, in March, he is purposefully trying to give people hope despite Covid being a deadly pandemic. pic.twitter.com/nJ3VKHcqfA
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 10, 2020
Top White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci even contradicted Woodward’s big scoop Wednesday, telling Fox News that he “didn’t get any sense that [the president] was distorting anything.”
Legacy media appears to forget that, meanwhile, Pelosi was downplaying the threat of the virus in late February, encouraging Americans to “come to Chinatown.”
“That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here,” Pelosi said as she toured the area to show it was safe. “Come because precautions have been taken. The city is on top of the situation.”
Here is Nancy Pelosi dancing around Chinatown on February 24th pic.twitter.com/ATv6TkkDI7
— AmericaFest Poso (@JackPosobiec) September 10, 2020
As Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway predicted on Fox News this week, voters can expect a new manufactured “bombshell” report out every week until the election.