In an interview in March, US President Donald Trump openly stated that he was willing to minimize the threat from Covid-19. These comments, revealed in a book to be published on September 15, revive the controversy over the chaotic handling of the health crisis in the United States.
A fantastic admission of Donald Trump. Experienced journalist Bob Woodward published on Wednesday, September 9, the recording of an interview he conducted in March with the President of the United States, a few weeks before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I always wanted to minimize it,” the president explained in a telephone exchange with Bob Woodward on March 19, transcribed in a work entitled “Rage.” “I always want to minimize it because I do not want to panic,” he added.
Weeks earlier, on February 7, Donald Trump explained to the same journalist how Covid-19 was “a deadly thing.”
The book, which will take place on September 15, is based in particular on a total of 18 interviews granted to Bob Woodward, between December 2019 and July 2020, recorded with the consent of Donald Trump.
Nearly 190,000 dead in the United States
Asked about these comments from the president, his spokesman, Kayleigh McEnany, defended his leadership of the pandemic and his communication about it. “The president has never lied to Americans about Covid,” she said during her daily press briefing. “The president has shown calm,” she added.
The management of the pandemic, which has killed more than 189,000 people in the United States, has earned Donald Trump very strong criticism, from his opponents but also from scientists and some elected officials from his own camp.
He is accused of sending contradictory and confused signals, but also of lacking compassion for the devastation caused by this virus. Poll after poll, a very large majority of Americans seriously consider its actions on this front.
“A Betrayal” for Joe Biden
Eight weeks before the presidential election, the publication of excerpts from this book written by the famous Watergate journalist provoked a strong reaction from the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who condemned a “betrayal” of the American people.
For Joe Biden, the observation is clear: the president “deliberately and voluntarily lied, for months about the threat that Covid-19 represented” to Americans. “He had the information. He knew the danger,” he said from Michigan.
For his part, Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, said that these exchanges showed “the weakness of the American president”.
“He did not know how to respond to the challenge,” she told MSNBC, condemning “his contempt for science.” “Above all, what is striking is that he completely ignores the impact (of the pandemic) on families in our country,” she added.
After showing an ambiguous position on the issue of wearing a mask, the Republican billionaire appeared in public with a mask for the first time only on July 11. A few days later, he felt it was a “patriotic” gesture.
Bob Woodward became world-famous for revealing, along with Carl Bernstein, the Watergate scandal that forced Richard Nixon to resign in August 1974.
In a first book about the Trump presidency published two years ago, Bob Woodward painted a portrait of an uneducated, angry and paranoid president whom his staff strives to control to avoid the worst of blunders.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the American Institute of Infectious Diseases, judged that Donald Trump, with whom he worked extensively in the White House crisis unit, was at first anxious to avoid any panic.
“When I talked to the president, I presented facts to him. He often wanted to make sure the country did not panic,” he told Fox News. “I do not remember a section where there would have been an obvious distortion of the things I had talked about with him,” he added.