President Donald Trump on Thursday defended the damning revelations laid bare by famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward, saying that Woodward hadn’t immediately reported his comments to the public because the journalist “knew they were good and proper answers.”
Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2020
“Calm, no panic!” could sum up Woodward’s own findings about Trump; the journalist reveals in his latest book that the President knew for months that the coronavirus which has now claimed the lives of close to 200,000 people in the United States was “deadly stuff” but that he opted to downplay it anyway.
Hours after the key revelations from the forthcoming book emerged, Trump conceded that he had minimized the impact of the pandemic to be a “cheerleader” standing behind his own failed leadership.
Woodward offered his own reasoning for delaying his finding during a phone interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday – but it had everything to do with Trump’s track record for spewing false information and little to do with whether or not he felt the President’s answers were “good and proper.”
Woodward told AP that Trump called him “out of the blue” in early February to “unburden himself” about the virus, which at that time had few reported cases in the United States.
According to Woodward, Trump privately expressed fear over COVID-19 after being warned by national security officials in late January that COVID-19 was set to be the worst pandemic in a century.
Woodward was initially cautious about the veracity of Trump’s claim and had waited until he was confident that Trump’s comments were based on reliable information — by then the coronavirus had infected millions of people across the country.
Woodward contested that by the time he confirmed Trump’s comments were based in fact, the issue became one of politics and he decided that he would push to release the book ahead of the November presidential election.
“That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”
Woodward’s own concerns about the truthfulness of Trump’s statements as a reason for the book’s delay reflect a certain irony in the face of a President who has repeatedly shrugged that unfavorable claims reported about him are “fake” or “fraudulent.”