Posts tagged with "Fox and Friends"

Trump admits to ‘downplaying’ COVID-19 to the nation—even, knowing it was ‘deadly stuff’

September 11, 2020

Last March, President Donald Trump personally told top-tier journalist Bob Woodward that he had deliberately and knowingly played down the threat of the coronavirus during his press events, even though he was aware that it had the potential to be—and already had been seen to be—vastly more serious than the seasonal flu.

In fact, he told the journalist that he “liked” playing down the pandemic.

In an attempt to walk back that damaging statement this past week, the president explained his rationale for keeping the truth from the American people: He said he “intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus in an attempt to avoid a “frenzy” among voters (and in the financial markets); and as part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers,” The Washington Post reports.

“This is deadly stuff,” Mr. Trump said on February 7 in one of 17 on-the-record  telephone interviews with Woodward over seven months for his coming book, Rage.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” the president told the author in audio recordings made available on The Washington Post website. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

But three days after those remarks, Trump told the Fox Business anchor Trish Regan: “We’re in very good shape. We have 11 cases. And most of them are getting better very rapidly. I think they will all be better.” A little less than two weeks later, he told reporters on the South Lawn that “we have it very much under control in this country.”

By February 26, the president was publicly dismissing concerns about just how lethal the virus was. “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for,” he said at a White House news conference. “And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

And by February 28, The Washington Post reports, at a rally in South Carolina, Mr. Trump denounced Democrats for their concerns about the virus as “their new hoax,” after the Russia

Indeed, according to the Post, Trump was absorbing in real time the information he was given by health and national security experts, he made a conscious choice not only to mislead the public but also to actively pressure governors to reopen states before his own government guidelines said they were ready.

By March, Mr. Trump was straightforward with Woodward about his tactics. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said in an audio recording of an interview on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

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

He detailed “the viciousness of the virus,” saying, “You know when it attacks it attacks the lungs. And I don’t know—when people get hit, when they get hit, and now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob.” He went on: “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too — plenty of young people.”

And yet in an interview broadcast by Fox and Friends on August 5, Trump asserted: “If you look at children, children are almost, and I would say almost definitely, but almost immune from this disease. I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this.”

Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that “children are at risk for severe Covid-19.”

One question swirling in Washington this past week was why the president had given Woodward such extensive access. Woodward—a longtime editor and reporter at The Washington Post who with Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon—has written books on most of Nixon’s successors, many of them critical. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former top political adviser, noted on Fox News on Wednesday that nearly every president who has cooperated with Woodward has regretted it.

Current White House officials said that Trump opened his door to Woodward in the hope that the eventual book would be positive. The president did not speak to Woodward for his first book on the Trump presidency, “Fear, and the president has maintained that it would have turned out better had he participated.

Officials also said that Trump, who has great faith in his ability to sell people on his version of events, was eager to have Woodward’s seal on his time in office.

Research source: @washingtonpost

Giuliani: ‘Collusion is not a crime’

July 31, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, attorney and spokesperson for President Donald Trump, said in a pair of July 30 interviews that he was at a loss for how colluding with the Russians would be categorized as a crime, Business Insider reported.

The comment—all but an admission that the POTUS had, indeed, colluded with a hostile foreign power—came shortly after Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen claimed to CNN on July 26 that he was with his then-boss and several other Trump Organization executives in 2016 when Donald Trump, Jr., told his father he could “get dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from the Russians.

Instead of denying that there was any collusion, as Trump has been doing since he took office, Giuliani shifted the conversation by noting that the president did not “pay them for hacking,” which he said was the real offense.

Speaking with the hosts of the Fox and Friends morning show, Giuliani said he has “been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.

“Collusion is not a crime,” he said, adding that the president is “absolutely innocent.”

Then in a discussion with CNN’s New Day, Giuliani said if you “start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.”

“The president didn’t hack,” Giuliani said. “He didn’t pay them for hacking. If you got the hacked information from the Russians here at CNN and you played it, would you be in jeopardy of going to jail? Of course not.”

Giuliani’s comments came a day after Trump took to Twitter to again attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump tweeted that there was “No Collusion!” and added that Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt” was “an illegal Scam!”

During his Monday interviews, Giuliani questioned Cohen’s credibility and said the president “did not participate” in the meeting with the Russians, Business Insider said..

Giuliani told CNN he was “happy to tell” Mueller that Trump “wasn’t at the meeting.” Giuliani added that other individuals who could corroborate Cohen’s account would not do so—charging that Cohen is making these claims now because he feels the criminal investigation closing in on him.

Based on the findings of a July 24 Quinnipiac University poll, American voters believe 51% versus 35% “that the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump.” A total of 68% of American voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about President Trump’s relationship with Russia, while 32% are “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.”

Research contact: brown@quinnipiac.edu