On Wednesday, famed ‘Watergate’ reporter Bob Woodward got a small media boomlet in advance of the release of his new book, “Rage,” in which he interviewed President Donald Trump and senior White House officials earlier this year.
What caused the stir? Reports that Trump told Woodward during one interview that he intentionally downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Naturally – and predictably – the supremely dishonest corporate legacy media portrayed the president’s admission as the worst possible thing, feigning outrage that he would dare ‘keep such vital information from us.’
As blood pressures topped out and heads exploded over at CNN, MSNBC, and the networks, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s lead immunologist, appeared on Fox News to blow Woodward’s ‘bombshell’ out of the water.
In fact, Fauci told the network, nothing in the president’s public portrayal of the severity of the coronavirus differed from what he was saying ‘behind the scenes.’
Asked if he got the sense Trump ever downplayed the virus, Fauci said, “No, no, I didn’t. I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything.”
“I don’t recall anything different in our discussions that we had with the president that he said things quite similar publicly, so you know, I didn’t read the book, I didn’t go over the text since it just came out,” Fauci said.
“But you know, in my discussions and discussions of other [White House coronavirus] task force members with the president, we were talking about the reality of what was going on, and then when we would get up in front of the press conferences, which were very, very common after our discussions with the president, he really didn’t say anything different than we discussed when we were with him,” Fauci continued.
“I didn’t really see any discrepancies between what he told us and what we told him, and what he ultimately came out publicly and said.”
So – did Fauci get the sense that Trump was downplaying the virus to the public?
“No, no, I didn’t. I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything,” he said.
Woodward also said the president told him in February that he believed the virus was “deadly” – adding further fuel to the media’s outrage cycle for the day.
The White House is pushing back, as it should.
“When you are facing insurmountable challenges, it is important to express confidence, it is important to express calm,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told breathless reporters Wednesday at the White House.
“He makes clear that he doesn’t want to see chaos, by the way, which is the second part of the quote which you failed to read,” she continued, addressing a reporter who had read part of the quote.
“The president just days after having this discussion with Bob Woodward, said this from this podium, on March 30, he said, ‘I do want them to stay calm, we are doing a great job, if you look at the individual statements they are all true, stay calm, it will go away but it’s important to stay calm,’” the press secretary said. “So this president does what leaders do — good leaders — it’s stay calm and resolute at a time when you face an insurmountable challenge.”
That’s exactly right.