US President Trump knew in early February that the coronavirus could be very dangerous, even though he said something else in public. According to American media, journalist Bob Woodward writes this in his new book Rage, based in part on a series of interviews that Trump gave to Woodward.
On February 7, in a phone call to Woodward, the president would have called the coronavirus “deadly stuff,” “that’s just spread by breathing and more deadly than a bad flu.”
According to Woodward, the president also admitted in one of the interviews that he deliberately kept the dangers of the virus from the public. “I always wanted to keep it small because I don’t want to panic,” Trump would have said to the journalist on March 19.
Calm and determined
In response to the book’s revelations, White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany defended Trumps’ remarks at a press conference. “He made it clear he wanted to avoid chaos,” she said. “This president is doing what good leaders do: staying calm and determined at a time of insurmountable challenge.”
Bob Woodward has legendary status as a journalist in the U.S. because of his involvement in the unveiling of the Watergate scandal surrounding President Nixon in the 1970s. He spoke with Trump eighteen times between early December last year and early July. The conversations have also been recorded, with the president’s permission.
The book Rage will be published on Tuesday. In addition to dealing with the corona-andemic, other hot topics of Trump’s presidency are discussed, such as the relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the possible Russian influence on the American elections and the Black Lives Matter protests.
Woodward also wrote a book about the Trump government in 2018, Fear: Trump in the White House. It painted a picture of a chaotic White House in which Trump’s advisors don’t trust the president and even hide and conceal important documents from him.