Democrats and legacy media continue to capitalize on their latest manufactured “bombshell” to drop from veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. The claim is that Woodward’s audio recordings of interviews with President Donald Trump released days ahead of his book indict the president with gross malpractice. But that’s false.
The tapes, first reported by CNN and exhaustively reported across corporate media as the biggest story of the election, show Trump telling the longtime Washington reporter over a series of interviews that he was aware of the threat level that the novel Wuhan coronavirus posed but was deliberately downplaying its severity to prevent public panic.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward 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.”
The comments, which Woodward didn’t release for months until right after the traditional marker of the general election campaign on Labor Day, were projected by Democrats and their allies in the media as the most damning revelation from the Trump White House less than two months before Nov. 3. Yet Trump had already said the same thing repeatedly in front of dozens of reporters on live television.
Fast-forward to one week later, and the media is running round two on audio from Trump and Woodward. In it, the president reiterates how deadly the virus could be in April to further complement last week’s audio comments of Trump calling the virus “deadly stuff.”
“New Woodward audio is the starkest illustration yet of how Trump misled about coronavirus,” headlined a doomsday article in Vox. “Trump Warned Bob Woodward About the Lethality of Covid in April: ‘This Thing Is a Killer,'” headlined another in Mediaite, featuring a CNN segment airing more comments from Trump warning about the dangers of the virus.
Here’s what Trump said, emphasis added:
This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you’re the wrong person, you don’t have a chance.
So this rips you apart… It is the plague.
It’s another big scoop if you’re a beltway reporter with a selective recollection of prior events, or have simply pledged conformity to an anti-Trump narrative to throw the Orange Man out of office while masquerading around Washington as a self-righteous journalist. Considering the relentless animosity shown towards the president over the past four years, it’s probably the latter.
A clear and honest examination of this year’s events, however, once again show the Woodward “bombshell” to be nothing more than media manipulation that omits prior public comments from the president saying publicly exactly what he told Woodward in April. Here’s a transcript of Trump’s remarks during coronavirus task briefing on March 21, emphasis added:
We’re going to win with as few lives lost as possible. That’s the game: Win with as few lives lost as possible. It’s a tough enemy. It’s a tough killer. Far bigger, far more vicious than ever before.
Here’s the president again on March 31, emphasis added:
It’s a matter of life and death, frankly. It’s a matter of life and death. … I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks. … But this is going to be a very painful — a very, very painful two weeks. When you look and see, at night, the kind of death that’s been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible. I was watching, last night, Governor Murphy of New Jersey say ’29 people died today,’ meaning yesterday, and others talking about numbers far greater. … As we send planeloads of masks and gloves and supplies to the communities battling the plague — and that’s what it is; this a plague — we also send our prayers.
Here’s the president on April 1, emphasis added:
Because, as you see on the board from yesterday, as this scourge, as this plague, as this virus moves — it moves very fast — and we don’t know yet whether we’re going to need it in Louisiana, in New York, you know, wherever it may be. So we’re ready for it. We’re totally ready for it.
Here he is on April 4, emphasis added:
This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there’ll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done. But there will be death.
Here’s Trump the next day on April 5, emphasis added:
Driven by the goal of the brightest minds in science — we have the brightest minds in science, but we’re driven by the goal of getting rid of this plague, getting rid of this scourge, getting rid of this virus.
Again on April 6, emphasis added:
… patients that were affected with this horrible disease or whatever — the plague — because, frankly, it’s a plague. That’s exactly what it is. You’d read about it in the old days. The plague. And that’s exactly what it is.
April 7, emphasis added:
… one day, they said, ‘You got to close it down. Close the country,’ because we have to get rid of the plague. And that’s exactly what we had, is a plague.
And here is Trump referring to the virus as a “plague” during a meeting with recovered COVID patients on April 14., the day after the Woodward call about which it is claimed that deploying that term to describe the virus has become big news.
This is a rough — a rough plague. I call it the ‘plague.’ I call it the ‘scourge.’ I call it whatever you want to call it. It’s rough. It’s bad.
Did the reporters watching have themselves a major scoop in April?