Revelations coming from on-the-record interviews that Trump (bafflingly) did with veteran journalist Bob Woodward for his forthcoming book Rage have provided insight into the president's disgustingly flawed approach to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. And now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doubling down on saying that the responsibility for the "horrifying toll" of the pandemic in the U.S. lies mostly with him.
"So much of this pain could have been avoided, but President Trump refused to tell the truth or to act to protect the American people," Pelosi said in a statement, per the Associated Press.
The latest quotes from Woodward's book, which gets released next week, were doled out early Wednesday, and have led to an array of damaging headlines for the president including this one on CNN, and this one CBS — and Fox News is helping spin the story by saying Trump simply knew he couldn't "show panic" — which is why he blatantly lied about the seriousness of the virus threat, and tried to downplay the cautions of his own experts.
In a February phone call, according to Woodward, Trump said of the virus, "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. This is deadly stuff."
This is of course the opposite of what he said to the public, because the man believes in lying at all turns in life, but he's now claiming that despite giving all these quotes to Woodward the book is just "another political hit job."
Trump is also alleged to have been told, in no uncertain terms in a January 28 briefing, that the coronavirus was poised to become a pandemic and that this would be the greatest national security threat he would face in his presidency.
"The President’s own words spell out the devastating truth: Trump was fully aware of the catastrophic nature of the coronavirus but hid the facts and refused to take the threat seriously, leaving our entire country exposed and unprepared," Pelosi said in her statement. "More than six million Americans have been infected, 190,000 have died and tens of millions are jobless and at risk of hunger and homelessness... The horrifying toll of Trump’s deadly disinformation and negligence in the lives of grieving families and to our economy is a historic national tragedy."
All of this goes in one ear and out the other for Trump's supporters who, bizarrely, think other people lie more than he does. Because we're living in post-truth world, and down is up.
Woodward says his book is based on 18 separate interviews he did with Trump between December and July, in addition to background conversations he had with government officials and staff who remained anonymous in some cases.
It's unclear whether Woodward has Trump saying any of this stuff on tape.
Update: The tapes are out.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden today called the Trump quotes "a dereliction of duty" and "a disgrace."