Trump Admits He Artificially Downplayed COVID To Be A ‘Cheerleader’ For The US

President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House on August 31, 2020. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
September 9, 2020 4:39 p.m.
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President Donald Trump conceded on Wednesday that he did purposefully downplay the COVID-19 in its early stages despite privately acknowledging it was “deadly stuff” — but he did it for you, America!

“I’m a cheerleader for this country,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House Wednesday, when asked about claims in journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, which reportedly quotes Trump admitting to soft-peddling the virus. “I love our country and I don’t want people to be frightened … and certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.”

“We want to show confidence. We want to show strength. We want to show strength as a nation. And that’s what I’ve done,” he added. “And we’ve done very well.”

Trump argued his falsely rosy portrayal of the pandemic early in the year, during which he claimed COVID-19 was no more serious than the flu, was all about showing “leadership.”

“And leadership is all about confidence. And confidence is confidence in our country,” he said.

The Woodward book and audio clips from which Trump’s private remarks about the pandemic emerged are “just another political hit job,” according to the President.

Yet Trump also indicated that he didn’t know much about the book, telling reporters he had “no idea” what Woodward had written and “frankly, we’ll see how the book turned out.”

The President refused to take responsibility for the devastating effects of COVID-19, which has killed nearly 190,000 Americans so far.

“I think if we didn’t do what we did, we would have had millions of people die,” Trump told reporters before once again shifting the blame onto China, claiming the country “could have stopped” the virus.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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