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Trump admitted downplaying coronavirus dangers in early days of pandemic, new Bob Woodward book says

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President Donald Trump announces opioid response grants to state governments in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, September 4, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

President Donald Trump admitted that he wanted to publicly downplay the threat of the coronavirus even as his advisors warned him about the dangers of the disease, Bob Woodward wrote in his forthcoming book about the Trump administration, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in mid March, CNN reported. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” 

CNN, which also published audio of Woodward’s March 19 interview with the president, reported Woodward writing that Trump had been informed weeks before Covid-19 claimed its first lives in the U.S. that the virus was dangerous and highly contagious.

“Rage,” Woodward’s second book on Trump’s presidency, is due out Sept. 15.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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