President Trump called into Hannity Wednesday night where he contradicted something that he himself secretly said about the coronavirus in early February. Trump recorded multiple tapes with famed writer Bob Woodward in February and March for Woodward’s upcoming book, Rage. On one tape, in which Trump knew he was being recorded, he admitted to being fully aware of the dangers of the coronavirus despite publicly saying otherwise. Trump also continued to hold rallies with no social distancing, and disparaging people for wearing masks, well into March.
“It goes, it goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things, right? But the air, 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 your, you know, your, even your strenuous flus,” Trump is heard saying in the recording from February 7th, adding, “This is more deadly. This is five per, you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent. You know, so, this is deadly stuff.”
Yet speaking to Sean Hannity, Trump said, “Nobody had any idea it would turn out to be as violent as it turned out to be.”
In another recording, from March 19, Trump says, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
On Wednesday, U.S. coronavirus deaths surpassed 190,000, accounting for over 20% of worldwide deaths while making up only about 4% of the world’s population. Still, on Wednesday night, Trump attempted to downplay the number of U.S. deaths, just as he had admitted to doing with the virus, by using hypothetical numbers of flu deaths worse than anything the country has seen in recent years. Since 2010, the most estimated deaths in a flu season, according to the CDC, was 61,000.
“If you look at flu years where we lost 70, 80, 90,000 people, people don’t realize that,” Trump said, “but if you look at that and multiply that times five, it’s actually more than we lost.”
And though a recent study showed that if the administration had acted earlier in taking action against the coronavirus, like when Trump was speaking with Woodward, 90% of deaths could have been prevented, Trump claimed to have done an amazing job.
“I mean, it’s amazing what we’ve done,” Trump said. “We’ve been able to do something that a country, especially with the kind of size we’re dealing with, we’ve done an incredible job.”
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