Election 2020

Bob Woodward's Own Reaction Shows His Big Trump Virus 'Scoop' Is Total Nonsense. And It Gets Worse ...

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Bob Woodward’s latest “blockbuster” book floating the idea that President Trump withheld life-saving information about the seriousness of the coronavirus is belied by the author’s and The Washington Post’s own reactions.

Woodward released a soundbite, a sentence from an interview last winter featuring President Trump saying he was attempting to downplay the coronavirus. The president said he was trying not to panic the American people—that he wanted people to remain calm.

I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.

Joe Biden seized on that sentence, claiming that downplaying the deadly nature of the coronavirus cost American lives. He came close to calling President Trump a murderer.

It was Biden who had previously said that he didn’t want Trump in charge of the coronavirus message because he would panic people. It was at the same time that Biden twice called Trump a xenophobe after Trump’s ban on travel from China, where the virus started.

Biden tweeted in February, “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

Biden’s usual flip-flopping since the outbreak of the virus notwithstanding, he should ask this question of Bob Woodward:

If this so-called lack of information cost American lives, then why did Bob Woodward withhold this life saving information till just mere weeks before the election?

Even kooky Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot mused to The Chicago Sun-Times that if the Woodward revelation was true, why didn’t he put it out before to save American lives.

… This would have been something that would have been important for the public to learn, particularly since it seems like he had actual audio tapes [of Trump]. To reveal it now, six-plus months into a worldwide and United States fight against this horrible, horrible virus that’s devastated so many — to hold back — I think he’s gonna have to answer for that.

… If the president had information, as he should have … about the deadly impact of this virus and if he chose, instead, to downplay the significance of the virus for whatever ill-intended purpose, lives were lost.

On his show today, Rush Limbaugh asked a similar question.

Why didn’t Woodward put that on the front page of The Washington Post seven months ago when he got it?

The AP asked Woodward about this. Here is his confusing and meandering, non-denial-denial.

“If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said. At that point, he said, the issue was no longer one of public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out before the election in November.

“That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”

Asked why he didn’t share Trump’s February remarks for a fellow Post reporter to pursue, Woodward said he had developed “some pretty important sources” on his own. “Could I have brought others in? Could they have done things I couldn’t do?” he asked. “I was on the trail, and I was (still) on the trail when it (the virus) exploded.”

If you’re keeping track, there are three answers in those paragraphs, all of which come down to: I wanted to keep it for my book but it would have been “unthinkable” to keep it to myself if I thought there was a public health hazard, so there’s no public health hazard.

Even Bob Woodward doesn’t think Bob Woodward’s “scoop” is a real “scoop.”

Indeed, The Post’s media and Trump critic, Erik Wemple, in a series of six tweets, was quick to come to the defense of the man whose name is still on the masthead as “associate editor.

Wemple argues that Woodward didn’t do anything “unethical or untoward in ‘holding’ on to his scoop about Trump’s admission that he played down the coronavirus. I disagree with the criticism.”

This is what Wemple basically said. Woodward didn’t do anything to harm public health by withholding it till now because it wasn’t a detriment to public health.

Worse for Woodward, not only was his story not a scoop, but Trump himself said out loud – multiple times – at White House news conferences, that his aim in being positive about the coronavirus was to calm the American people. He explains just that in this typically bitter exchange between Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta.

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