President Donald Trump knew Covid-19 was deadlier than the flu earlier than it hit the US however wished to minimize the disaster, in response to a brand new ebook.
Bob Woodward, the journalist who broke the Watergate scandal, interviewed Mr Trump 18 occasions from December to July.
Mr Trump is quoted as telling him the virus was “lethal stuff” earlier than the primary US demise was confirmed.
Responding to the ebook, the president mentioned he had wished to keep away from inflicting public panic over the outbreak.
Some 190,000 Americans have been recorded as dying with Covid-19 because the starting of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, some US media launched elements of the interviews between the president and the journalist, revealing his reported remarks on the outbreak in addition to race and different points.
Here are among the key quotes so removed from Rage, which can be launched on 15 September.
On the virus
In interviews with Woodward, Mr Trump indicated that he knew extra concerning the severity of the sickness than he had mentioned publicly.
According to a tape of the decision, Mr Trump advised Woodward in February that the coronavirus was deadlier than the flu.
“It goes via the air,” Mr Trump advised Woodward on 7 February.
“That’s at all times harder than the contact. You do not have to the touch issues. Right? But the air, you simply breathe the air and that is the way it’s handed.
“And in order that’s a really difficult one. That’s a really delicate one. It’s additionally extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.”
Later that month, Mr Trump promised the virus was “very a lot beneath management”, and that the case depend would quickly be near zero. He additionally publicly implied the flu was extra harmful than Covid-19.
Speaking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump mentioned: “Just keep calm. It will go away.”
Nine days later, days after the White House declared the pandemic a nationwide emergency, the president advised Woodward: “I wished to at all times play it down. I nonetheless like taking part in it down, as a result of I do not wish to create a panic.”
- From 2018: Woodward on Trump – the explosive quotes
- How Trump’s attitude toward coronavirus has shifted
How did the White House react?
Speaking from the White House in Wednesday, Mr Trump advised reporters: “I do not need individuals to be frightened, I do not wish to create panic, as you say, and positively I’m not going to drive this nation or the world right into a frenzy.
“We wish to present confidence, we wish to present energy, we wish to present energy as a nation and that is what I’ve achieved.”
The president – who’s working for re-election in November – mentioned the Woodward ebook was “a political hit job”.
Mr Trump tweeted in August: “The Bob Woodward ebook can be a FAKE, as at all times, simply as most of the others have been.”
He additionally referred to as the Watergate reporter a “social pretender”, “who by no means has something good to say”.
Responding to reporters’ questions on the ebook on Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany mentioned: “The president by no means downplayed the virus, as soon as once more.
“The president expressed calm. The president was critical about this.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Trump’s Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden mentioned that “whereas a virulent disease ripped via our nation, [the president] did not do his job – on objective”.
“It was a life or demise betrayal of the American individuals.”
When Woodward introduced up the Black Lives Matter protests in a dialog on 19 June, suggesting that “white, privileged” individuals like themselves must work to grasp how black Americans really feel.
“You actually drank the Kool-Aid, did not you?” Mr Trump mentioned. “Just take heed to you.”
The nationwide protests towards police brutality and racism had been sparked by George Floyd’s demise in May.
Mr Trump additionally repeated the suggestion that he had achieved extra for African-Americans than any president other than Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery.
Later, on 8 July, Mr Trump once more reiterated that he had “achieved an incredible quantity for the black neighborhood” however was “not feeling any love”.
The Washington Post additionally cited an interview the place Woodward requested the president about whether or not America has systemic racism.
Mr Trump mentioned whereas these issues exist in all places, “I believe most likely much less right here than most locations, or much less right here than many locations”.
The president additionally acknowledged racism impacts the lives of individuals within the US, saying “it is unlucky”.
On North Korea
Woodward’s ebook additionally cites dozens of letters between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
In the letters, full of flowery language, Mr Kim reportedly referred to Mr Trump as “Your Excellency” and famous their “deep and particular friendship will work as a magical drive”.
On different presidents
Mr Trump reportedly advised Woodward that he felt his predecessor, Barack Obama was “extremely overrated”.
“I do not suppose Obama’s good,” Mr Trump reportedly mentioned. “And I do not suppose he is an awesome speaker.”
According to CNN, Mr Trump advised Woodward he made President George W Bush “seem like a silly moron, which he was”.