I have been blogging lately about the death of truth. Then 2 days ago we have had a shocking example of what I have been talking about.
For months we have known that Trump played down the importance of the Covid-19 epidemic. Yesterday we got proof. Trump assured us the pandemic was under control and would likely “magically go away”. Those were comforting words, but they disguised the truth and Trump knew that.
Yesterday a new book was released about Trump by Bob Woodward one of the Watergate investigative reporter at the Washington Post, called Rage. Amazingly Trump granted 18 exclusive interviews to Woodward and consented to him recording them. That is how we have his exact words. And those words are damning. Shockingly the statements Woodward claimed Trump told him were actually taped. You can hear him in his own words. This is not fake news.
The first of those conversations between the two men occurred on February 7, 2020. Trump acknowledged the virus was tricky because it is transmitted through the air. This is what Trump said:
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff.”
But that is not what he told the public. As the Associated Press reported,
“Just three days later, Trump struck a far rosier tone in an interview with Fox Business. “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.” (emphasis added)
How differently would Americans have acted if they knew the truth—i.e. if they knew the truth that it is “deadly stuff?” How many lives would have been saved or health damage avoided?
Trump admitted on February 7, 2020, this virus was unlike the flu where we lose 25,000 or 30,000 people a year. He also admitted this is 5% versus 1% or less than 1%…this is deadly stuff.
Anderson Cooper put this into perspective for the viewers of his show:
“The President lied to us when it really mattered, when action could have been taken had people known taken had people known the truth. That could have saved lives. In case you are wondering the numbers are simply heart-breaking. Researchers at Columbia University have estimated that instituting social distancing just 1 week earlier would have prevented at least 36,000 deaths. 2 weeks sooner could have prevented 84% of all fatalities.”
Think about that: more than 68,000 deaths could have been avoided had Trump and his team told Americans the truth and promptly started taking the virus seriously and taking serious measures to curtail as other countries did, rather than dismissing it as insignificant!
As Cooper said, “During what has been called ‘the lost month’, he could have mobilized the public and saved lives. He could have but he didn’t.”
During this time Trump admitted he didn’t want his Covid numbers to go up. In a March interview Trump admitted to Woodward, as was recorded on tape, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic.”
This was like America’s political leaders during the Vietnam that claimed Americans could not handle the truth when really they hid the truth because it would make them look bad. It seems obvious that Trump’s real goal was not to panic American voters (over this issue at least unlike others such as ‘rioting’ in the streets) in order to enhance his chances of being re-elected. As CNN analyst Jamie Gangel said, “hearing the truth did not panic South Koreans who had just 21,000 cases and only 344 deaths in the last 6 months.”
Is it true that Americans cannot handle the truth? Or is it true that Trump does not care about the truth and would rather feed the American public lies to enhance his political position? I think the answer is obvious.