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Trump told Woodward that he did not see coronavirus as a leadership test in life



“Was there a moment in all this, last two months, where you said to yourself – you know you’re waking up, or what’s you doing, and you say, ‘Ah, this is a leadership test in life? “Woodward asked Trump on March 19 in a new clip that aired on CNN’s” Anderson Cooper 360 “on Tuesday night.

“I think it may be, but I do not think so,” Trump said. “All I want to do is get it resolved. There are a lot of people who said that to me. They said you are now a war president.”

The comments came more than seven weeks after Trump was warned by his national security adviser that the virus would be the “biggest national security threat”

; from his presidency and after several interviews in which Trump had told Woodward about his concerns about Covid-19.

At the March 19 interview, 265 deaths had been reported in the United States due to the virus. To date, more than 195,000 Americans have died, and more than 6.6 million have contracted Covid-19, making the disease the biggest public health disaster in more than 100 years.
Woodward learned in early May of a January 28 top-secret briefing in which National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump that coronavirus would be “the biggest national security threat” during his presidency. O’Brien’s deputy Matthew Pottinger warned Trump about human-to-human and asymptomatic spread of the virus.
Woodward on Tuesday referred to how Trump hardly mentioned the pandemic during his speech on the state of the Union on February 4.

“This is the moment a leader would say, ‘I got a warning: there are going to be problems.’ There are things we can do, “Woodward said.” But then he goes on to say, ‘Oh, I would not tell the truth because I would panic in people.’ That is not what the people of this country do when they are told the truth. “

Woodward’s extensive interviews with Trump for his new book “Rage” have revealed the president’s views on several hot-button issues, namely his handling of the national coronavirus response, which in some cases contradicted his message to the public at the time. .

During their conversations, Trump admitted to Woodward that he knew weeks before the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu,” and that he had repeatedly played it down publicly.

“This is deadly thing,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7.

A few weeks later, however, Trump erroneously claimed in a February 26 press release that mortality is higher for influenza than coronavirus.

The first known death in the United States from Covid-19 was reported on February 29 in the state of Washington nearly six weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first U.S. case. It was later discovered that a death on February 6 was due to Covid-19.

In March, Trump admitted he was playing the virus down. He also told Woodward on March 19 that he had recently learned that “it’s not just old people” who are receptive. Nevertheless, Trump repeatedly claimed that it was predominantly the elderly who had to worry.

Woodward also addressed Trump’s comments earlier on Tuesday, denying that he downplayed the virus, claiming that he actually “up-played it in terms of action.”

“We live in an Orwellian world, and it’s not just about a political problem or a geopolitical problem,” Woodward said. “It’s about people’s lives in this country, and he was told – he knew it.”

CNN reported last week that after 18 interviews that formed a key component of the book, the men had a 19th interview on August 14 – by which time more than 168,000 Americans had died, with more than 1,300 deaths that day alone.

When Woodward told Trump that the election would be a competition between him, former Vice President Joe Biden “and the virus,” Trump insisted, “nothing more could have been done.”

He added: “I acted early.”

Woodward also talked about how he had reached his book’s concluding statement that “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

He said he had asked several advisers, “Is this pompous or is it true?”

“And the answer was from everyone, ‘It’s true … The whole Trump thing is about running away from the truth. You can not run away from the truth here because you’ve seen it,'” he added.

This is a groundbreaking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Jamie Gangel, Tara Subramaniam, Jeremy Herb and Elizabeth Stuart contributed to this report.


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