Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump says 'perhaps' he misled public over coronavirus after audio surfaced saying "I wanted to always play it down"


Sep. 10 2020, Updated 10:07 a.m. ET

Journalist Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal, has released tapes of interviews that he had with President Donald Trump. The tapes, released ahead of 'Rage,' show that President Trump understood just how deadly the coronavirus pandemic could be, despite downplaying the risk in public.

Article continues below advertisement

"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. On March 19, Trump told the journalist that coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu. "I wanted to always play it down," Trump added. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." 

Article continues below advertisement

A few weeks earlier, Trump had told the public that the nation's 15 coronavirus cases were going to be down to zero in a few days and that the virus was "going to disappear." Nearly 200,000 Americans have died as a result of coronavirus.

Article continues below advertisement

Unsurprisingly, the tapes prompted quite a response from many of Trump's opponents. Vice President Joe Biden said they show that Trump "knew how deadly" the virus was.

"It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people," Biden said. "He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was. And while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose."

In a press conference on Wednesday, Trump admitted that he had played down the risks of the virus to the public.

Article continues below advertisement

"If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that's so," Trump said. "The fact is I'm a cheerleader for this country. I love our country. I don't want people to be frightened. I don't want to create panic, as you say, and certainly, I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy."

Article continues below advertisement

"We want to show confidence. "We want to show strength. We want to show strength as a nation," Trump concluded. 

Trump responded to his own comments on Twitter, writing: "Fake News is at it again! They will take any statement from me, no matter how proper or well delivered, &  systematically, in complete conjunction with all of their allies, dismantle it. With Biden, they only give him softballs, and let him read the answers from a teleprompter!"

Article continues below advertisement

The tapes prompted "he knew" to begin trending on Twitter. "This is at least reckless endangerment and it's potentially criminally negligent homicide--or worse," Mary Trump wrote. "180,000 Americans should still be with us. How many more will die? And for what? Still no calls for Donald’s resignation."

Article continues below advertisement

Trump has since pivoted on his claims and is blaming it on miss quoting, especially after Biden's campaign launched a new ad torching the President for hiding the facts from the people.

Article continues below advertisement

Many are pointing out the President did more than just try to cover it up, he intentionally told citizens it wasn't a threat in various tweets near the beginning of the pandemic. Many theorize he was worried it could potentially hurt his reelection bid if the economy buckled under the quarantines. 


Latest News News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2021 Megaphone. Megaphone is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.