Trump Attempts to Deflect Scandal and Attacks Bob Woodward’s Credibility in Early Morning Tweet

President Donald Trump attempted to deflect scandal and attacked journalist Bob Woodward’s credibility in an early morning tweet. The president’s remarks came after recordings of interviews with Woodward in which he admitted to downplaying the severity of the coronavirus pandemic were released.

“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?” the president wrote. “Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

Woodward held interviews with Trump between February and March for his forthcoming book, Rage. Recordings revealed that Trump knew that the coronavirus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flu” and that he “wanted to always play it down” to avoid creating a nationwide panic.

Others have criticized Woodward and suggested he should have come forward sooner. Esquire‘s Charles Pierce, for example, wrote in a piece yesterday that “Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything substantial to keep the country informed.”

“He tells me this, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s interesting, but is it true?’ Trump says things that don’t check out, right?” Woodward told The Associated Press. 

“If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward continued, saying that the issue had become one of. politics rather than public health and that he decided it would be prudent to break the story ahead of November’s general election. “That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 195,000 Americans to date. The president has continued to suggest that economic shutdowns and decisions to move children to virtual learning to stop the spread of the virus are Democratic ploys to hurt his reelection chances.