“I would love for the country to open up and look forward to going on Easter,” he told Fox News on March 24, adding that it would be great to see “churches full of people for Easter”. according to this timeline, which most medical experts believe would create a dangerous environment through which Covid-19 could spread wildly, Trump told reporters:
“It was based on a certain level of weeks from when we started and it happened, we were thinking of conditions earlier. I would love to see it happen sooner.”
Easter Sunday fell on April 12 of this year.
On April 13 – aka the next day – Trump had this exchange with Washington Post editor Bob Woodward about the virus:
TRUMP: And Bob, it’s so easily transmitted, you wouldn’t even believe it.
WOODWARD: I know, it’s –
TRUMP: I mean, you could, you could be in the room – I was in the White House a few days ago, meeting 10 people in the Oval Office and a guy sneezed, innocently. Not horrible –
TRUMP: You know, just a sneeze, the whole room bailed out, okay? Including me, by the way.
And that conversation, of course, took place nearly a month after Trump told Woodward on March 19 that he “still wanted to play.” [the virus] down.”
So here’s what we know:
Trump told Woodward he deliberately downplayed the severity of the virus to the public in mid-March. Five days later, Trump pitched the idea of reopening the country on Easter Sunday, citing “some level of weeks from when we started and that The day AFTER Trump’s proposed reopening for Easter, from which he finally backed down, Trump told Woodward how “easily transmitted” the virus was.
So here is.
This timeline is brutal for Trump. This clearly shows that he knew, even as he urged the country to reopen and churches were packed on Easter Sunday, that the virus was incredibly easy to pass from person to person.
For Trump, to say that his whole strategy was to avoid panicking the public by “downplaying” the virus is bad enough.
But actively encouraging the reopening of the country when he knew the virus was extremely contagious is, in a word, irresponsible. And in short, dangerously irresponsible.
The first duty of every President is to ensure the safety of the American people. It is now clear that Trump’s desire to reopen the country has replaced his mission to protect people.
In fact, Trump was publicly encouraging a return to normalcy even as he privately told Woodward that Covid-19 was incredibly contagious.
It is overwhelming.
CNN’s Allison Gordon contributed to this analysis.
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