February 7, Donald Trump praised Xi Jinping for how great China was handling the coronavirus and said the "virus hopefully becomes weaker with warmer weather, and then gone." February 9, he said the regular flu kills between 25,000 and 69,000 people a year, but there were only 15 cases of coronavirus, and soon there would be zero. February 26, when there were 58 confirmed cases, he clung to the "15" number, still comparing it to the flu. February 27, "It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear." On February 28, he hung out with Diamond and Silk at the White House. All throughout, he said it was "under control." He bragged in February about getting rid of the White House pandemic response office. He still brags about how he stopped (some) flights from China, even though the virus was already here. If all else fails, drink bleach!

That ain't what he said to Bob Woodward.


'I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.'

Excerpts from Woodward's new book Rage are coming out, and holy shit, so are Woodward's tapes of interviews with Trump, where he openly admitted back in February that he was downplaying lying about the coronavirus. Not ANONYMOUS SOURCES interviews about things Trump has said. Taped interviews. Eighteen of them, to be precise.

"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. [...]

"I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

Woodward's book talks about a January 28 intelligence briefing where National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien told Trump that coronavirus would be the "biggest national security threat to [Trump's] presidency." It was his own national security team that got him to do the travel ban thing a few days later. (Read: Not Trump's stable genius idea.)

More from that February 7 interview with Woodward:

TRUMP: It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed.

And so, that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your – you know, your, even your strenuous flus. [...] This is more deadly. This is five per- you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent. You know? So, this is deadly stuff.

He knew. He lied. Over 190,000 people have (so far) died. Probably going to be 400,000 by the new year.

April 3: Trump tells the American people, "I said it's going away and it is going away."

April 5: Trump tells Bob Woodward, "It's a horrible thing. It's unbelievable."

April 13: Trump tells Woodward, "It's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't even believe it."

Did we mention these are audio clips that we are pretty sure the Lincoln Project, the Biden campaign and everybody else with video editing software in America is currently turning into ads?

"The virus has nothing to do with me," Trump told Woodward in their final interview in July. "It's not my fault. It's — China let the damn virus out."

You might be noticing the timeline here and wondering why the hell Bob Woodward decided to sit on this for as long as he did, while 190,000 Americans died. If it might have been, we dunno, PERTINENT, to share with the American people that you have tapes of Trump on the record admitting that he was lying about and downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. If it might have changed the national conversation.

Yes, you might be wondering that, about BOB.

We don't know, honestly, if it would have changed anything. And we sure did know at the time that Trump was either lying or stupid.

But still, it might have been nice to know back then, BOB.

OPEN THREAD!

[CNN / Washington Post]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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