President Aimed to Avoid Panic over COVID-19

Says downplaying coronavirus threat was to prevent overly frightening people.

In a new book on the Trump presidency by Bob Woodward, President Trump admitted back in March that he wanted to publicly downplay the danger posed by the coronavirus in order to avoid creating “panic,” even as he expressed privately that the disease posed a deadly threat.

“I wanted to always play it down,” he is quoted as saying. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

President Trump responded to the allegation in a press conference, saying, “I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country and I don’t want people to be frightened.”

In late January, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien had warned the president that the coronavirus would be “the toughest thing you face.” He is quoted as saying, “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.”

By early February, weeks before the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death was reported in the Seattle area, the president acknowledged the pathogen was highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus. … You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” he said. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one.” He added, “This is deadly stuff.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that discussions with President Trump were always straight forward and that he heard the president relay the information he’d been given by the task force. Dr. Fauci stated, “I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For factual reporting about President Trump and his actions surrounding the coronavirus.
  • For the president as he continues to seek solutions to the impact of the virus.
  • For all of the work of the first responders, medical personnel, government officials and others in working to contain the COVID-19 virus.
  • For the laboratories and companies working on a vaccine and the people engaged in the ongoing clinical trials.

Sources: National Review, NPR


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