Donald Trump admits to downplaying coronavirus threat to the public in tapes released on the same day he is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
President Donald Trump has admitted to downplaying the severity of coronavirus in a conversation between him and Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward recorded on tape.
The interviews, said to have been conducted in early February, are chronicled in Woodward’s recently released book Rage, proving that Trump said one thing in private but another in public.
The tapes from February 7th show Trump on record stating, “It’s also more deadly… than your strenuous flus.”
This is the tape: 🔊pic.twitter.com/ozX8O8fVKm
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 9, 2020
However, just over a month later the President tweeted out an extremely different take on the virus to the public.
“So last year 37,000 Americans dies from the common Flu,” Trump tweeted. “It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
However, just nine days later in another recorded phone call with Bob Woodward, Trump admits to downplaying the virus to the public, while also acknowledging that the virus can claim the lives of both young people as well as the elderly.
He says in the interview, “Some startling facts came out. It’s not just, older, [but] young people too, plenty of young people.”
The President later goes on to explain his reasoning behind minimising COVID-19 to the public.
He says, “To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Trump tells Woodward he played down the threat of the coronavirus.
“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
He also tells Woodward that “plenty of young people” are vulnerable — different from his public message pic.twitter.com/fJZUZtJTIv
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 9, 2020
Other revelations from Woodward’s book include Trump revealing he commissioned a secret nuclear weapon system, the President mocking North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un‘s intelligence, and former Trump officials claiming the President to be “unfit” for office.
The revelations from the book and interviews released from CNN News have seen U.S. law attorney’s calling the conduct and admission an impeachable offence.
UCLA law professor and former U.S. attorney Harry Litman tweeted, “This is clearly an impeachable offense, albeit not a crime. The POTUS lied to the American people for political purposes & easily tens of thousand deaths ensued.”
Remember the high crimes and misdemeanors debate?This is clearly an impeachable offense, albeit not a crime. The POTUS lied to the American people for political purposes & easily tens of thousand deaths ensued. How more stark and harmful a dereliction of public duty can you get? https://t.co/riuM9xKJt9
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 9, 2020
This sentiment was backed by national security attorney Brad Moss who tweeted, “This should end his presidency. If it doesn’t, god help us.”
This should end his presidency. If it doesn’t, god help us. https://t.co/YvbC4gtpQq
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 9, 2020
This news comes on the same day Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by far-right Norweigian politician, Christian Tybring-Gjedde.
The politician claims he nominated the United States president for his removal of US troops from Iraq.
This is Trump’s second nomination for the award; however, the criteria for putting forward a nomination is quite low, with all nominations from politicians serving at a national level accepted.
Trump is up against 317 other candidates, and even despite the admission of lying to the public, it’s hard to see how he could take out this award, let alone the US election in November.