The broadcaster CNN reported on the book in advance and also published short audio recordings from the interviews.
Among other things, you can hear Trump saying on March 19 after the introduction, “To be honest with you, Bob”: “I always wanted to downplay it. I still like to downplay it because I don’t want to panic. “
In a conversation on February 7th, Trump said, according to the recordings: “This is deadly stuff.” People don’t have to touch contact surfaces to become infected: “You just breathe in air, and that’s how it is transmitted.” The disease is also “deadlier” than the flu, which kills 25,000 to 30,000 Americans each year. “Who would have ever thought that, right?” Remarked the President. Meanwhile, at a press conference in the White House at the end of February, Trump spoke of the importance of washing your hands often and not touching every handle – and that you should treat the disease in the same way as you would with the flu.
Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany did not deny the authenticity of the recordings. At the same time, however, she said: “The President has never lied to the American public about Covid.” However, it is his job to ensure that the population stays calm. “The president never downplayed the virus. The president was calm. He was hopeful, ”said McEnany. At the same time, he took measures early on, such as restricting entry from China.
Meanwhile, Trump’s challenger in the White House race, Joe Biden, attacked the president sharply. “He knew how deadly it was and deliberately downplayed it. Worse still, he lied to the American people. “Tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if Trump had acted faster, Biden said.