Did You Notice? : There’s more than just the headline

I’m sure by now others have heard the story: Cheetolini talked to Bob Woodward in March about COVID-19, at a time when there were less than 20,000 cases and about 500 dead.

He knew how dangerous it was.  He “played it down”.  He knew people would die.

Trump Admits Playing Down Coronavirus’ Severity, According To New Woodward Book

President Trump acknowledged the deadliness of the coronavirus in early February and admitted in March to playing down its severity, according to interviews with the president that are included in a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward.

“This is deadly stuff,” the president told Woodward in a Feb. 7 conversation, according to the book, which is called Rage. “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.”

But at the time, Trump was publicly saying that the virus was less of a concern.

And yet, this isn’t the part that bothers me the most.  CNN is also covering the story, and they included recordings between Woodward and Cheetolini.  Listen to Cheetolini talk.  He doesn’t sound like an incompetent buffoon.   He sounds perfectly in control.

‘Play it down’: Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book

President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”

“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7.

In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. “Pretty amazing,” Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times “more deadly” than the flu.

Trump’s admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”

This is the second recorded excerpt found on the CNN page.  He does not sound like someone who could barely pass a cognitive test:

Woodward: And so, what was President Xi saying yesterday?
Cheetolini: Oh, we were talking mostly about the uh, the virus. And I think he’s going to have it in good shape, but you know, it’s a very tricky situation. It’s –
Woodward: Indeed it is.

Cheetolini: It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things. Right? 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 your – you know, your, even your strenuous flus. You know, people don’t realize, we lose 25,000, 30,000 people a year here. Who would ever think that, right?

Woodward: I know. It’s much forgotten.
Cheetolini: Pretty amazing. And then I say, well, is that the same thing-
Woodward: What are you able to do for –

Cheetolini: This is more deadly. This is five per- you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent. You know? So, this is deadly stuff.

I want to know why Woodward sad on this for six months instead of making this public and saving lives.  Careerism and selling a book?  Agreed to sit on it?


  1. says

    I do not know, it still sounds like regular Trump word-salad. I mean, he knew it was deadly and lied about it – that is given – but I do not see anywhere anything indicating that he is not an incompetent fool as well.

  2. says

    Who could this possible make a difference to? The people voting for trump literally believe a random pizza joint housed satan jew pedo illuminati and that trump is, despite all indications, not a rapist and occasional pedophile himself, *or* they know he’s abominable and evil and will vote for him to protect their bottom line (or the white race or whatever their shit is). This news will mean nothing to any of them.

  3. blf says

    On Mr Woodward’s “sitting” on hair furor’s comments, from the Grauniad’s current States pandemic & politics live blog (quoted in full):

    If you’ll excuse me a slight navel-gazing industry indulgence here, there will be plenty of journalists yesterday both envious of Bob Woodward for getting his scoop on tape, and also somewhat bewildered that he then sat on the information for months, watching how the president spoke in public about the coronavirus pandemic in a very different fashion.

    Media columnist Margaret Sullivan has addressed that in a piece for the Washington Post this morning. She writes:

    In fairness, it wasn’t just journalists raising concerns. A reader wrote to me arguing that Woodward’s revelation “could have been helpful in the spring, both explaining the seriousness of the disease to the public, showing the Trump administration’s bungled and inept response, and pushing the Trump administration to do more.” He added, with a touch of cynicism, that he hoped the author’s advance fee made the delay worthwhile.

    She’s spoken to Woodward about this, and his response was:

    First, he didn’t know what the source of Trump’s information was. It wasn’t until months later — in May — that Woodward learned it came from a high-level intelligence briefing. In February, what Trump told Woodward seemed hard to make sense of — back then, Woodward said, there was no panic over the virus; even toward the final days of that month, Anthony S Fauci was publicly assuring Americans there was no need to change their daily habits.

    Second, Woodward said, “the biggest problem I had, which is always a problem with Trump, is I didn’t know if it was true.”

    Read it here: Washington Post — Margaret Sullivan — Should Bob Woodward have reported Trump’s virus revelations sooner? Here’s how he defends his decision.

    Mr Woodward is one of the two journalists who investigated Watergate. During that investigation, he and Mr Bernstein (and their editor) had two imperatives: “Verify verify verify”, and “Follow the money”. As he points out, hair furor is not known for speaking truthfully, so without verification — at the time (February) a fair amount of what is now known was (informed) speculation — a premature release could easily be “spun” by the falsehood-prone hair furor dalekocrazy. There wouldn’t be anything concrete which with to counter the lying spin.

    None of that is to say Mr Woodward (and / or his publishers) handled the situation in the most ideal fashion. It has since become clear hair furor and his dalekocrazy are not only lying and delusional about the pandemic, but actively engaging in unhelpful counter-measures. An earlier (call it a “teaser”) release, of the by-then-verified claim, might have had an effect (other than increasing the interest in Mr Woodward’s book). Would it, as the OP asserts, have saved lives? I do not quite see the mechanism by which that “must” have happened (the OP’s assertion is unqualified), albeit I do want to believe that assertion — perhaps a better claim would be it could have saved lives (and may still do so).

  4. says

    He knew how dangerous it was. He “played it down”. He knew people would die.

    Thus he gets his wish of being a “wartime president” – getting a ton of his voters killed for a lie.

  5. mikey says

    I’m with Charly- he sounds like he always does: brutish, uncaring and stupid. I swear I’ve had dogs with bigger vocabularies.