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The ‘Bombshell’ About Trump Downplaying Coronavirus Is No Bombshell. Trump Said This Publicly In March.
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his list of potential Supreme Court nominees in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on September 9, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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Earlier this week, legendary journalist Bob Woodward dropped a “bombshell”: President Donald Trump admitted, on tape, that he purposefully downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus even when he knew how deadly the virus could be.

Cue Democrat and their media supporters’ collective meltdown.

The tapes are “even more devastating than Nixon’s tapes,” said Woodward’s Watergate reporting colleague Carl Bernstein on CNN. “Trump Called the Coronavirus ‘Deadly’ in Private While Minimizing Its Risks in Public, Book Reveals,” read the headline at The New York Times. Deadline was more stark: “Donald Trump Admits Downplaying Threat Of Coronavirus As CNN Reveals First Big Bombshell Of Bob Woodward Book.”

Yet as my former colleague Becket Adams wrote at The Washington Examiner, the Woodward “bombshell” is anything but.

In fact, Trump said publicly in March what he told Woodward privately at the same time. And just as it is doing now, the media freaked out over Trump’s statements.

“There was an entire news cycle with headlines such as, ‘Trump just acknowledged downplaying the coronavirus threat: ‘I knew it could be horrible’’ and ‘Trump Just Admitted to Downplaying the Seriousness of the Coronavirus Threat,’” Adams reported.

That was in March, after Trump on March 31 said at a White House press briefing that he “knew [the coronavirus] could be horrible, and I knew it could be maybe good.” He added: “I don’t want to be a negative person. It’d be so much easier for me to come up and say, ‘We have bad news. We’re going to lose 220,000 people, and it’s going to happen over the next few weeks.’”

Trump also said during that press briefing, “Somebody said, ‘Oh, I wish he’d be more negative.’ … Well, this is really easy to be negative about. But I want to give people hope too. You know, I’m a cheerleader for the country. We’re going through the worst thing that the country has probably ever seen.”

Even before that press briefing, Trump said he had downplayed the virus in order to avoid a panic. As The Daily Wire’s Joe Curl reported, Trump told reporters on March 30: “The statements I made are: I want to keep the country calm. I don’t want to panic the country.”

Trump said these same things to Woodward in February, March, and April.

Prior to his March admissions that he downplayed the virus to try and contain a panic, Trump told the American people that the coronavirus was not serious. On January 22, he said, “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” A week later, he halted flights from China to the U.S.

Later in February, Trump again downplayed the virus, saying the cases would be “close to zero” and last maybe a “couple of days.”

Trump’s downplaying of the virus is its own issue, but the media’s collective memory loss on the issue suggests it wasn’t that big of a deal when they freaked out about in April, as they quickly forgot it ever happened.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Trump made statements during an April 1 press briefing. Those statements were actually made at a March 31 press briefing.

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