CNN today obtained audio recordings from some of Bob Woodward's interviews with President Trump for his new book "Rage." There are startling revelations in the tapes about Trump's response to coronavirus among other topics.
The book will officially be released on Sept. 15, but here's what we know so far about the tapes and the book:
- What Trump knew about coronavirus in February: According to a Feb. 7 tape, Trump said knew in early February coronavirus was dangerous, highly contagious, airborne and "deadly." Trump went on to say that coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu. "This is more deadly. This is five per- you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent. You know? So, this is deadly stuff," Trump said, according to the audio. Remember: This was 19 days before the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed first possible US case of "community spread."
- "Play it down": In a March tape, Trump admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public. "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
- 18 interviews: The startling revelations in "Rage" were made during 18 wide-ranging interviews Trump gave Woodward from Dec. 5, 2019 to July 21, 2020. The interviews were recorded by Woodward with Trump's permission, and CNN has obtained copies of some of the audio tapes.
- Other interviews: Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, conducted hundreds of hours of confidential background interviews with firsthand witnesses for "Rage." Trump's former top Cabinet officials are among his harshest critics in the book, providing some of the most brutal assessments of the commander in chief to date: "Dangerous." "Unfit." "No moral compass." "Doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie."