While President Trump drew scrutiny for admitting in a March interview to publicly downplaying the deadly coronavirus pandemic, journalist Bob Woodward also came under fire Wednesday — for sitting on the bombshell for months.
“To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told the Washington Post editor in one of several on-the-record interviews for Woodward’s upcoming book.
“I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump explained.
Trump made the remark on March 19 and in an even earlier February interview acknowledged to Woodward that the coronavirus was airborne and “deadly stuff” — but it wasn’t public knowledge until Wednesday, when the Washington Post released short audio clips of some of Woodward’s interviews.
Several on Twitter were quick to slam Woodward for keeping the information under wraps for nearly six months.
“You can be mad that Trump withheld the fact that COVID19 is deadly and airborne back in February,” wrote Siva Vaidhyanathan, an author and columnist for The Guardian. “You should also be furious that Bob Woodward withheld the fact that Trump knew it and said it on the record.”
Added Charles P. Pierce, a political blogger for Esquire, “Bob Woodward knew the truth behind the administration*’s [sic] deadly bungling—and worse—and he saved it for his book, which will be released to wild acclaim and huge profits after nearly 200,000 Americans have died.”
Andi Zeisler, the co-founder of Bitch Media, wrote in a thread, “Why. Did. Bob. Woodward. Sit. On. This. Information. I mean, I know the answer. I just can’t get my head around the fact that someone so familiar with the stakes would be this selfish.
Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton drew similar heat in June for withholding information of potentially significant public interest while working to cash-in on a tell-all book.