Thursday, September 10, 2020

Woodward Records President Trump Admitting He Was Lying About Dangers of Covid-19

My apologies to legendary writer Bob Woodward.

At the end of yesterday's blog, I had an OOPs entry which mocked Woodward's new book, Rage.  I had read Woodward's previous book about the Trump administration, Fear, which was truly a snoozefest.  When I learned that Rage contained an allegation that Trump lied about how dangerous Covid-19 was is, I shrugged my shoulders.  Trump lies about EVERYTHING.  That Trump lied about Covid-19 isn't really new or news.

I did not know at the time, however, the detail in Woodward's book about the extent of Trump's knowledge of the pandemic and how early he

Bob Woodward
knew it would wreak havoc across the country, killing, thus far, over 190,000 Americans. 

But what I found most surprising was that, unlike with his book Fear, in writing Rage, Woodward was able to to score personal interviews with President Trump.  In fact, Woodward had 18 interviews with the President, conversations which he record.

Apparently, Trump felt his failure to grant Woodward an interview during Woodward's writing of Fear had led to it being more negative than he would have liked.  So Trump decided this time he would talk to Woodward so the veteran journalist would write a "good book" about him.

A President with limited intelligence and overblown confidence in his own persuasive abilities giving 18 on the record interviews with a journalist who helped break the Watergate story, earning a Pulitzer Prize for his employer, the Washington Post, in the process.  Yeah, what could go wrong with that?  Turns out, pretty much everything.

Yesterday's disclosures included audio of Trump telling Woodward that he knew early on how dangerous Covid-19 would be, including that could easily be transmitted through the air and children would be infected with the disease.  Then Trump went out and lied to the American public, repeatedly downplaying the danger of the virus.  At best it would go away in days and was no worse than the seasonal flu.

Trump's defense is that he didn't want to alarm the American people.  Really?  This is the same person who spent his first 3 1/2 years in office, trying to alarm the public about illegal immigrants, caravans, increased crime in the cities, etc.  Trump's whole political style is based on scaring people into supporting him.

No, Trump chose not to warn people about the dangers of Covid-19 because he did not believe it was in his political best interest to do so.  As always, what is best for Trump comes first.  If hundreds of thousands of Americans will die as a result of doing what is best for Trump, that is an acceptable sacrifice for the President.

Outside of followers of the Trump personality cult, I don't think many people believed Trump on Covid-19.  But Trump's supporters sure did.  Even after learning of the dangers of Covid-19, Trump had his followers pack arenas without any protection from a disease he knew could kill them.  Many Trumpers faithfully took up the cause from there, holding spirited rallies against social distancing and mask requirements.  Dr. Fauci was lying about the dangers, Covid-19 was a Democratic hoax, the virus was no worse than the seasonal flu.  Trumpers were not only dutifully repeating Trump's words, they were living those words, and sometimes dying as a result.

Which brings me to Herman Cain.  A personal friend of President Trump, the 74-year-old former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, a former presidential candidate himself, was co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.   In June, Cain attended Trump's Tulsa rally. Because Trump had made dismissing the serious health consequences of the virus to be a political cause célèbre, virtually no one in the audience that day, including Cain, a cancer survivor, was social distancing or wearing a mask.  From the Woodward tapes, it is clear that Trump knew the extreme dangers Covid-19 posed to those rallygoers.  Nonetheless, Trump held the rally anyway.  Many of the Tulsa rallygoers got sick, including Cain, who eventually succumbed to the disease.   In short, Donald Trump has no problem with a friend risking his life to do something when it is in the best interest of Donald Trump.

Trump's, I must resist stooping to Trump's level by using a derogatory, albeit obvious, nickname for his supporters.


OOP's short takes:

  • When it comes to the "worst governor in America" competition, Florida's Ron DeSantis and Georgia's Brian Kemp are the frontrunners.  But let me throw out another name for consideration - Kristi Noem of South Dakota.  Governor Noem did not prohibit the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally from taking place in her state, a superspreader event.  While Noem is right that some of the estimated health and financial impact of the event is based on garbage methodology, there is no doubt that hundreds of people returned from the event infected with Covid-19.   Then came news that, faced with surging Covid-19 cases in her state, Governor Kristi Noem used $5 million in federal virus relief money for a tourism ad.  The ad, starring, you guessed it, Governor Kristi Noem, first aired on Fox News during the Republican National Convention.  
  • An Indiana gubernatorial poll just released by Change Research (C- pollster ratting) shows:  (R) Gov. Holcomb 36%, (D) Woody Myers 30%, (L) Donald Rainwater 24%.   As of this posting, it is not clear who sponsored the poll.  While I'm certainly skeptical of the methodology, there is a previous Change Research poll which allows us to gauge movement.  (As long as Change Research didn't change methodology between polls which is unlikely.)  An April poll produced the following line:  Holcomb 45%, Myers 25%, Rainwater 8%.  I still think the race to watch in Indiana is the contest for Attorney General.  Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel has a real chance to win that race if Trump only wins Indiana by single digits.
  • And I am betting Trump's margin in Indiana will be in the single digits.  Although there has hardly been any quality polling of the presidential race in Indiana, there has been in Missouri, which is very comparable to Indiana when it comes to support for Trump.  In 2016, Trump won Indiana by 19 points and Missouri by 18.5 points. In the current FiveThirtyEight average of polls, Trump enjoys only a 6.5 point lead in Missouri.  

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