Day 1,329: Nearly 200,000 Americans have died and many more will surely follow because Trump lied about seriousness of COVID from day one

Top advisers warned Donald Trump that COVID-19 was a monumental threat to the U.S. well before the first positive test in the country.

Trump understood the huge ramifications and told journalist Bob Woodward the same in a series of recorded interviews. Yet Trump kept a very different public disposition.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus was intentional, and he told Woodward, “I wanted to always play it down,” even as he acknowledged it affected more than just the elderly.

(Woodward, who used the interviews for an upcoming book, also wrote that Trump’s former Secretary of Defense of two years, retired four-star general James Mattis, thought Trump was “dangerous,” “unfit,” and had “no moral compass.”)

Nearly 200,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19. Some forecasts predict that number could double by the end of December.

On the surface, none of Trump’s COVID-19 posture in private is particularly shocking. He has downplayed the virus for months, even in the face of clear evidence and science. He has remained remarkably ignorant about basic facts. He has touted dangerous and ineffective treatments, and suggested injecting disinfectant could be a good option. He has repeatedly called the virus a Democratic hoax. He has intentionally slowed down the amount of testing. He has played golf a shocking amount of times as compatriots languish and perish around the country.

But a sitting president showing actual understanding of the gravity of a pandemic in private only to downplay it in public is an intentional and heinous act of betrayal that leaves the blood of tens of thousands of Americans on his hands.

1,329 days in, 133 to go

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