President Donald Trump told journalist/author Bob Woodward (for his new book “Rage”) on March 19 that he was playing down the deadly COVID-19 virus — which has killed nearly 190,000 Americans — notes CNN:
I wanted to always play it down, I still like playing it down.
Trump told Woodward on February 7 that COVID-19 was was five times more deadly than the regular flu, even though this statement contradicted his public statements:
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.
Woodward’s book also said that National Security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump on Jan. 28 about the danger of COVID-19, notes The Washington Post:
This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency. This is going to be the roughest thing you face.
Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, told Trump that the world faced a health emergency equal to the Spanish Flu of 1918.