Trump defends downplaying dangers of virus

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US President Donald Trump has defended his determination to downplay the dangers of Covid-19, saying his solutions to journalist Bob Woodward have been “correct”.

Woodward, known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, interviewed Mr Trump 18 occasions from December to July.

Mr Trump mentioned in February he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic.

He tweeted on Thursday that Woodward didn’t report his quotes for months. “He knew they have been good and correct solutions. Calm, no panic!”

Some 190,000 Americans have been recorded as dying with Covid-19 because the starting of the pandemic.

What did Trump say?

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for a lot of months. If he thought they have been so unhealthy or harmful, why did not he instantly report them in an effort to avoid wasting lives?” Mr Trump mentioned.

“Didn’t he have an obligation to take action? No, as a result of he knew they have been good and correct solutions. Calm, no panic!”

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Media captionHow Trump’s angle towards coronavirus shifted between March and April

The president – who’s operating for re-election in November – on Wednesday advised reporters the Woodward e-book was “a political hit job”.

What has Woodward mentioned?

Woodward has been criticised for withholding the president’s remarks on the pandemic, with some saying it was an unethical determination.

The journalist supplied a defence within the Washington Post and Associated Press on Wednesday, saying he wanted to examine whether or not what Mr Trump advised him was correct.

“The greatest downside I had, which is at all times an issue with Trump, is I did not know if it was true,” Woodward advised The Post.

He additionally mentioned that it was necessary for him to inform the story by the election, telling the Associated Press: “Had I made a decision that my e-book was popping out on Christmas, the tip of this 12 months, that will have been unthinkable.”

The e-book, Rage, shall be launched on 15 September.

What does the e-book say about Mr Trump and the virus?

Mr Trump indicated that he knew extra in regards to 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 by means of the air,” Mr Trump advised the creator on 7 February.

“That’s at all times more durable 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 tough 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 underneath management”, and that the case rely would quickly be near zero. He additionally publicly implied the flu was extra harmful than Covid-19.

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Media captionThe misplaced six weeks when the US failed to manage the virus

Speaking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump mentioned: “Just keep calm. It will go away.”

Nine days later, 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.”

What Trump was telling Woodward v saying publicly

28 Jan: National safety adviser Robert O’Brien tells the president: “This is the largest nationwide safety menace you’ll face.”

7 Feb: “This is lethal stuff,” he tells Woodward, way more critical than the flu.

23 Feb: “We have it very a lot underneath management,” President Trump tells reporters.

26 Feb: On the 15 confirmed circumstances on the time, he tells a briefing: “inside a few days goes to be down to shut to zero, that is a reasonably good job we have completed”, implying that flu is much extra harmful.

27 Feb: The virus goes to “disappear”, he says.

10 March: “We’re doing an amazing job with it. And it is going to go away. Just keep calm. It will go away,” the president says on Capitol Hill.

19 March: He tells Woodward he wished to play it right down to keep away from a panic.

What else did the e-book reveal?

On race

Woodward writes that he introduced up the Black Lives Matter protests in a dialog with the president on 19 June, suggesting that “white, privileged” individuals like themselves should 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 have been sparked by George Floyd’s demise in Minnesota in May.

Mr Trump additionally repeated the suggestion that he had completed 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 “completed an amazing 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 in all probability much less right here than most locations, or much less right here than many locations”.

The president additionally acknowledged racism affected the lives of individuals within the US, saying it was “unlucky”.

On North Korea

Woodward’s e-book additionally cites dozens of letters between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. In the letters, crammed with 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”.

According to US media, Mr Trump advised Woodward of his reference to Mr Kim: “You meet a lady. In one second, whether or not or not it’ll occur. It would not take you 10 minutes and it would not take you six weeks. It’s like, whoa. OK. You know? It takes considerably lower than a second.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Mr Trump wrote: “Kim Jong Un is in good well being. Never underestimate him!” There have been sporadic stories about Mr Kim’s well being, including one in April that he was seriously ill or even dead.

On new weapons

The president additionally reportedly advised Woodward about nuclear weapons methods in his conversations about North Korea. Other sources additionally confirmed the existence of a brand new weapons system, Woodward reported.

“I’ve constructed a nuclear – a weapons system that no one’s ever had on this nation earlier than. We have stuff that you have not even seen or heard about,” he mentioned, based on the Post.

“We have stuff that [Russian President] Putin and [Chinese President] Xi have by no means heard about earlier than,” Trump added.

On his predecessors

Mr Trump additionally reportedly advised Woodward that he felt his predecessor, Barack Obama, was “extremely overrated”.

“I do not assume Obama’s sensible,” Mr Trump reportedly mentioned. “And I do not assume he is an amazing speaker.”

According to CNN, Mr Trump advised Woodward he made President George W Bush “seem like a silly moron, which he was”.

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