The president was aware of the severity of the virus while calling to fire a top health official for pointing out his inadequate response to the pandemic.
Ahead of the release of his upcoming book Rage, which examines the presidency of Donald Trump, journalist Bob Woodward has been sharing tapes recorded during his conversations with the president. Some of the tapes were particularly damning, revealing that Trump knowingly played down the severity of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the seasoned journalist expands on that revelation with the release of another tape.
Last night, Woodward appeared via webcam as a guest on Stephen Colbert's Late Show where he shared a recording with the president that revealed what he truly thought of the dangers of the virus while he was railing against Anthony Fauci, one of the lead members of Trump's White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Trump directed his anger at Fauci in April after he asserted that countless lives could have been saved if earlier social distancing measures were implemented and health officials didn't face "pushback" from the government.
In his conversations with Woodward, Trump called the virus a "killer" and compared it to "the plague."
"Bob, it's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't believe it," Trump was heard telling Woodward on the recording. He went on to tell a story about how an "innocent sneeze" caused an entire room in the White House to clear out. "The entire room bailed out," he said. "Including me, by the way."
The recording reveals just how much Trump's official reaction to the virus with the public is at odds with his personal concerns. As Woodward continues his press run to promote the book, it's clear that more will be revealed in the coming days as he shares his recordings.