Woodward Lambastes Trump Downplaying COVID-19: ‘A Monumental, Catastrophic’ Failure

Journalist Bob Woodward lambasted President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic deeming his response a  “monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.” Woodward appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday where he discussed the audio of Trump’s remarks regarding the pandemic. According to Woodward, Trump’s downplaying of the virus to reduce panic likely hindered the United States’ handling the public health crisis. He also shared his take on Trump’s stance. “If he’d been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now,” Woodward said. “It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.” Woodward also recalled the January 28 meeting in the Oval Office when Trump received intelligence warning him about the potential severity of the virus. He also reiterated that Trump was well aware of the specificity of the threat the virus posed including the possibility of airborne transmission. “I think it’s one of the most historic moments in the Oval Office when a crisis is laid out, and the president doesn’t level with the American people,” Woodward said. He added, “And it’s absolutely tragic. It’s tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000 plus people who have died.” See Woodward’s remarks below: [embedded content] Woodward’s latest remarks follow the media firestorm surrounding the release of his recorded conversations with Trump. The clips captured Trump admitting that he downplayed the pandemic to refrain from inciting panic, as previously reported on IJR. However, Trump has been criticized for doing so. Some of his supporters have also taken a similar stance often downplaying the virus while placing an emphasis on misinformation. In fact, Trump some supporters have even questioned the existence of the coronavirus altogether. Just hours before the president’s campaign rally in Michigan where he ignored science and coronavirus mitigation guidelines, several of his supporters weighed in with their take on the coronavirus downplaying and dismissing the severity of it. See the clip of Trump’s supporters below: [embedded content] More than 6.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic as the death toll continues to rise.

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Woodward: Travel Restriction on China in January Was Not Trump’s Idea

Investigative Journalist Bob Woodward pushed back against President Donald Trump’s claim that he faced opposition from public health experts when he restricted travel from China at the beginning of the pandemic. Woodward touched on the portion of his new book “Rage” where it details what really led to Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China. During an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show,” co-host Savannah Guthrie offered a contrast of Trump’s claims about the initial travel restriction on China in comparison to the timeline of events detailed in Woodward’s book. Guthrie noted that, according to Woodward, the restrictive policy was recommended to the president in January by some of the Trump administration’s top health experts. Woodward noted that the claim Trump has relied upon as a defense to support his early pandemic response differs drastically from what actually happened. “It is very different and it is essential to the understanding,” he said. See Woodward’s remarks below: [embedded content] Woodward went on to further explain the details of the travel ban including the flaw in it that, subsequently, contributed to New York state’s alarming coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of the pandemic. “It’s not that President Trump banned travel, people coming from China to the United States,” Woodward said, adding, “He restricted it, and as we now know, there were some problems and lots of people from China instead of coming to the United States went to Europe and then came into John F. Kennedy airport in New York.” He added, “And that’s why there was such a firestorm of a virus in New York City at that time.” When Guthrie asked about Woodward’s account of the travel restriction again, he doubled down on his stance. She asked, “Just to put a fine point on it, your book shows that it wasn’t the president up against the world but that his advisors actually said, ‘You should do this’ and he said okay.'” Woodward said, “Yes, absolutely.” Woodward’s remarks about Europe echo New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) recent argument about the strain of coronavirus that spread throughout his state. During one of his previous press briefings, Cuomo slammed Trump and blamed him for the spread of coronavirus in New York due to his failure to place restrictions on European travel, as previously reported on IJR. “It was not the China virus. It was the European virus that came to New York. They missed it. They missed it. The China virus went to Europe. It got on a plane. It went to Europe. They never even thought of the possibility and then three million Europeans got on the plane and came to New York.” “The China virus got on a plane and went to Europe,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The European virus came to New York.”“This nation loses more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence.”#Truth 🔥pic.twitter.com/yuu06EWm8D — Truth Matters (@TruthsOverTrump) September 8, 2020 The United States has reported more than 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases, as of Monday morning. As the death toll approaches 200,000, New York state still has the highest COVID death rate due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus at the onset of the pandemic.

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Bob Woodward Says Trump ‘Knew That This Was a Pandemic Coming’ in Late-January

Journalist Bob Woodward revealed President Donald Trump was well aware of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic was coming before he began taking the necessary steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. During an exclusive “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley, Woodward recalled Trump telling him when he first received intelligence about the coronavirus. “On January 28th of this year, before the virus was on anyone’s radar, the national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, told the president, ‘This virus will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,'” Woodward said on Sunday. When asked about Trump’s reaction to the warning, Woodward claimed the president asked questions that suggested he had a difference in opinion regarding the severity of the virus. Woodward later added, “It was a stunning moment in the Trump presidency and, I think, in American history. Because he then went on to publicly dismiss the virus. And he knew that this was a pandemic coming.” When clarifying that “this is January 28th,” Woodward told Pelley, “Yes.” See Woodward’s remarks below: Bob Woodward says that on January 28, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told President Trump that coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat” of his presidency. https://t.co/TdjOvN9Nwy pic.twitter.com/O2UI0ErlcV — 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 13, 2020 Woodward’s latest interview follows the release of audio that confirmed the president was aware of how deadly the virus could be. The released audio also captured the president suggesting that he prefers to downplay the virus to not cause panic, as previously reported on IJR. Based on the audio clip, Trump not only knew the pandemic was coming, but on February 7, he also noted specific details about the severity of it and how it differs from the seasonal flu. Even then, Trump admitted that he was aware of the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. “It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things,” Trump told Woodward in February. He continued, “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 even your strenuous flu.” Hear the audio below: In new tapes, President Trump admits to Bob Woodward he concealed critical details he knew about the coronavirus. "I wanted to always play it down." https://t.co/eICaAx70mY pic.twitter.com/zXNOZtIBx7 — CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 9, 2020 Additionally, on Monday, Woodward argued how history will be written. “The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February,” Woodward said during a “Today” show interview. “The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February.” @realBobWoodward tells @SavannahGuthrie. pic.twitter.com/YaQslLKyHA — TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020 As of Monday morning, the United States has reported more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide. The death toll is over 198,000 and there are more than 3.9 reported recoveries.

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Trump in New Tape Released by Woodward Shares About His Relationships With the ‘Meaner’ Leaders

President Donald Trump shared who he gets along better with regarding foreign leaders. “I get along very well with [Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], even though you’re not supposed to because everyone says what a horrible guy, but for me, it works out good,” Trump is heard saying in a newly released audio clip from his interview with journalist Bob Woodward. The audio tape from January 22 was shared during Woodward’s interview on the “Today” show Monday. Trump continued, “It’s funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them, you ought to explain that to me some day, but maybe it’s not a bad thing.” “The easy ones are the ones I maybe don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much,” the president added. Watch the video below: “It’s funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them,” President Trump said in an interview with @realBobWoodward. pic.twitter.com/6aCpqbO9jf — TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020 The latest clip comes ahead of the release of Woodward’s book “Rage” on Tuesday. In response to the president’s remarks that he has a better relationship with those leaders who are “tougher” and “meaner,” Woodward said, “He is the face of the United States to the world, and he has said, and there it is, ‘Hey look, I get along with these bad guys but not the good guys.'”

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Bob Woodward Pressed on Why He Sat on Trump Audio Clips About COVID-19

Journalist Bob Woodward is being grilled for sitting on the audio clips of President Donald Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. The investigative journalist appeared on “The Today Show” on Monday where he discussed his new book “Rage,” which offers an in-depth look at Trump’s presidency. “The biggest revelation, by far, from this book is that the president told you way back on February 7 that this coronavirus was airborne, that it was five times more deadly than the flu,” said host Savannah Guthrie. “As you well know, you’ve been criticized for not releasing that information until now.” Guthrie also noted that not only has the president criticized Woodward but also commentators have reiterated the fact that as nearly 200,000 Americans died of coronavirus, he did not come forward with the information he had. When asked why he withheld the information, Woodward attempted to justify his actions insisting. “Because in February, I thought it was all about China because the president had told me about a discussion with Chinese President Xi,” Woodward said. See their exchange below: Why didn’t you publish this information until now? –@SavannahGuthrie asks @realBobWoodward about his book that reveals President Trump downplayed the coronavirus to the American public. pic.twitter.com/udYPnonSd7 — TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020 Not deterred, Guthrie went on to highlight the contradictions in Trump’s rhetoric as she questioned why that, alone, was not enough for Woodward to release the information. She noted the timeline that followed Trump’s remarks on February 7 where he admitted the coronavirus is five times worse than the seasonal flu due to the possibility of airborne transmission. Despite being aware of that, Trump spent the weeks that followed publicly insisting that coronavirus was no different than the flu and that it would go away. “If there was any suggestion I had that that was about the United States, I would have, of course, published it,” Woodward said. “I think I have a public health and public safety responsibility.” As states across the country continue to combat the coronavirus, Trump has appeared to continue to downplay the severity of it. On Sunday, the president was criticized for holding a fully-indoor campaign rally in Nevada, as IJR reported. As the fall season approaches, the United States currently has more than 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases.

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