How Woodward’s book could put Trump in a “place of vulnerability” ahead of November »

Newly-released excerpts and audio recordings from journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Rage,” could undo the Trump marketing campaign’s efforts to color a “law and order” portrait of the United States below Donald Trump by returning to a dialog the president had been attempting to steer away from — the coronavirus pandemic

“It resurrects the pandemic as an issue,” CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett advised “CBS This Morning” Thursday. “These revelations bring the pandemic and all of its complications, all of its disruptions right back front and center. And that is a place of vulnerability for this president.”

Mr. Trump took half in 18 interviews with Woodward over the course of seven months. In a February audio recording obtained by the Washington Post, the president admitted the severity of the coronavirus whilst he held indoor marketing campaign rallies and repeatedly compared the virus to the flu.

In the recorded interview, Mr. Trump acknowledged that COVID-19 “goes through air” regardless of persevering with to talk at packed events

“It’s also more deadly than your, you know, even your strenuous flus,” the president may be heard saying. “This is 5% versus 1% and less than 1%, you know, so this is deadly stuff.”

In distinction, the Trump marketing campaign has spent months bolstering the White House’s response to the pandemic — however in response to Garrett, the revelations puncture the president’s “confidence and optimism” concerning the coronavirus in the U.S.

He referenced Mr. Trump’s March 7 journey to the CDC in Atlanta, the place he spoke to docs and was “essentially projecting to the country, a month after he’d already disclosed to Bob Woodward how serious he knew the virus was, that he knew everything that needed to be known, and it wasn’t a big deal.” 

“What did that cost the country? It cost the country the ability to mobilize,” Garrett mentioned.

By publicly downplaying the virus, Mr. Trump had delayed “a serious national conversation” about containment measures reminiscent of masks, social distancing and prioritizing which locations ought to open and what ought to keep closed, Garrett mentioned.

“We did not have that conversation,” Garrett mentioned. “It was lost in the president’s perpetual optimism about where the virus was and where it was going — that he misread that is an absolute fact and will be on the ballot in November.”

The pandemic has hit the U.S. tougher than every other nation in the world, main in each quantity of circumstances and deaths. 

With the nationwide dying toll climbing previous 190,000, Garrett mentioned the president’s reelection numbers could slide, even in Mr. Trump’s politically most secure areas.

“Lots of his supporters know that he’s optimistic and strong, true. But if that optimism and that strength cost the country things that it wishes it hadn’t been cost and imposed difficulties people are so tired of, there’s only one person to blame for that — the president of the United States,” he mentioned. 

That uncertainty could show helpful to Mr. Trump’s rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, Garrett mentioned. Throughout the pandemic, the Democratic nominee has emphasised the significance of social distancing and masks sporting, in addition to listening to scientists whose views usually clashes with the president’s.

“That gives the Biden campaign something it hasn’t had in two and a half weeks — a clear shot to reengage the conversation about what this president did, what he knew, and most importantly what he didn’t say about the pandemic,” Garrett mentioned.

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