President Trump told journalist Bob Woodward that he wanted to play down the coronavirus pandemic because he didn’t want to “create a panic,” according to an audio recording from Woodward’s interviews.
CNN has obtained the recordings of Woodward’s interviews with Trump for his new book “Rage.” According to the book, Trump also knew in early February coronavirus was dangerous, highly contagious, airborne and “deadly.”
Here’s part of a recording from March 19:
Trump: Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old- older.
Woodward: Yeah, exactly.
Trump: Young people too, plenty of young people.
Woodward: So, give me-
Trump: So what’s going on-
Woodward: -a moment of talking to somebody, going through this with Fauci or somebody who kind of, it caused a pivot in your mind. Because it’s clear, just from what’s on the public record that you went through a pivot on this to, ‘oh my god, the gravity is almost inexplicable and unexplainable.’
Trump: Well I think, Bob, really, to be honest with you-
Woodward: Sure, I want you to be.
Trump: I wanted to- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.