Trump pushes back against media, argues he downplayed COVID-19 to prevent panic

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Trump addresses claims made in Bob Woodward's bombshell book Rage at a White Press conference on Thursday, Sep. 10 - (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Trump pushed back against a probing press pool today at a White House press conference where they questioned why he downplayed the risk of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

In his new book entitled “Rage,” investigative journalist Bob Woodward revealed that Trump already knew in February that the COVID-19 is dangerous.

During an interview with Woodward on February 7, Trump told him that the virus was “deadly stuff” and  “It’s also more deadly than your – you know, your, even your strenuous” cases of flu.

In a later conversation on March 19, Trump admitted to Woodward that he “always wanted to play it down.” and that he “liked to play the virus down…because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Trump says he wants to maintain “calmness” amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During the press briefing on Thursday, the President did not deny his comments to Woodward about the virus. He also reiterated that he downplayed its risk to public health because he doesn’t want people to panic. He pointed out that the country needs “calmness” amid the pandemic.