President Donald Trump says he downplayed the severity of the coronavirus to avert a sense of panic Wednesday and argued that Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward’s recordings of him are a “political hit job.”
Trump’s comments came hours after Woodward released recordings in which Trump can be heard saying in February and March that he both knew the virus was more severe than the flu and decided to downplay its severity. Trump’s response echoed White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who argued Trump did not lie to the American people, but tempered his language to avoid panic.
“We don’t want to run around screaming and shouting ‘oh look at this, look at this.’ We have to show leadership and leadership is all about confidence,” Trump said.
We don’t want to run around screaming and shouting oh look at this, look at this. We have to show leadership and leadership is all about confidence. – @realDonaldTrump responding to allegations that he mislead Americans on COVID19 to avoid creating panic.
— Patsy Widakuswara (@pwidakuswara) September 9, 2020
Woodward told Trump in a March 19 interview that “it’s clear, just from what’s on the public record that you