September 9, 2020 at 7:38 PM EDT
Trump acknowledges he intentionally downplayed deadly coronavirus, says effort was to reduce panic
By Josh Dawsey, Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane
President Trump acknowledged Wednesday that he intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus last winter as an attempt to avoid a “frenzy,” part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers to contain the fallout from a forthcoming book by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.
Trump’s comments came hours after excerpts from the book and audiotapes of some of the 18 separate interviews he conducted with the renowned author were released, fueling a sense of outrage over the president’s blunt description of knowing that he was not telling the truth about a virus that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans.
Democrats, led by their presidential nominee Joe Biden, denounced Trump’s actions as part of a deliberate effort to lie to the public for his own political purposes when other world leaders took decisive action to warn their people and set those nations on a better path to handling the pandemic.