Veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book Rage has triggered a debate over how President Trump publicly talks about the coronavirus — which, aside from his descriptions of China’s role in the pandemic, has often been characterized more by optimistic pronouncements than rage.
Trump regularly predicts that the worst is over and the virus will soon disappear, even as the U.S. death toll climbs. But interviews with Woodward suggest the president understood its severity even as he issued these public reassurances, prompting reporters to pepper the White House with questions about whether this was dishonest. Joe Biden said that Trump lied and people died. “He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat posed to the country for months,” the Democratic nominee argued in Michigan.
“The president has never lied to the American public on COVID,” countered White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany at a