Journalist Bob Woodward revealed President Donald Trump was well aware of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic was coming before he began taking the necessary steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.
During an exclusive “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley, Woodward recalled Trump telling him when he first received intelligence about the coronavirus.
“On January 28th of this year, before the virus was on anyone’s radar, the national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, told the president, ‘This virus will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,'” Woodward said on Sunday.
When asked about Trump’s reaction to the warning, Woodward claimed the president asked questions that suggested he had a difference in opinion regarding the severity of the virus.
Woodward later added, “It was a stunning moment in the Trump presidency and, I think, in American history. Because he then went on to publicly dismiss the virus. And he knew that this was a pandemic coming.”
When clarifying that “this is January 28th,” Woodward told Pelley, “Yes.”
See Woodward’s remarks below:
Bob Woodward says that on January 28, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told President Trump that coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat” of his presidency. https://t.co/TdjOvN9Nwy pic.twitter.com/O2UI0ErlcV— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 13, 2020
Woodward’s latest interview follows the release of audio that confirmed the president was aware of how deadly the virus could be. The released audio also captured the president suggesting that he prefers to downplay the virus to not cause panic, as previously reported on IJR.
Based on the audio clip, Trump not only knew the pandemic was coming, but on February 7, he also noted specific details about the severity of it and how it differs from the seasonal flu.
Even then, Trump admitted that he was aware of the airborne transmission of the coronavirus.
“It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things,” Trump told Woodward in February.
He continued, “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 even your strenuous flu.”
Hear the audio below:
Additionally, on Monday, Woodward argued how history will be written.
“The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February,” Woodward said during a “Today” show interview.
“The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February.” @realBobWoodward tells @SavannahGuthrie. pic.twitter.com/YaQslLKyHA— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020
As of Monday morning, the United States has reported more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide. The death toll is over 198,000 and there are more than 3.9 reported recoveries.