President Donald Trump downplayed reporting by Bob Woodward, offering a weak defense for his remarks amid criticism that the journalist withheld that the president openly lied to Americans about the coronavirus pandemic and intentionally minimized the disease’s severity.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted in response to the public conversation surrounding Woodward’s forthcoming book, “Rage.” Per CNN, which obtained an early copy of the book, Trump reportedly told Woodward in one of their many interviews for the work: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
When the quote hit social media, Woodward was lambasted for waiting until his book came out to drop such a bombshell. In tandem with this, Trump tweeted that Woodward didn’t publish his quotes sooner “in an effort to save lives” because “he knew they were good and proper answers.”
“Calm, no panic!” wrote the president.
Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2020
Trump’s latest comments come on the heels of a press conference Wednesday in which the president did not deny he made the remarks and defended downplaying the virus.
“If you said ‘in order to reduce panic,’ perhaps that’s so,” he said. “I’m a cheerleader for this country. I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic.”