Bob Woodward has defended his decision to sit on bombshell tapes of President Trump for months and publicize them only on Wednesday ahead of his book release—after almost 190,000 Americans have died of coronavirus. In the recordings, Trump admitted in February that he knew the coronavirus was very deadly and contagious, contrary to his public comments. He also told Woodward he was deliberately downplaying the virus so as not to create panic.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, Woodward said it took him until May to verify Trump’s comments on the virus’ potency. “If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” he said, suggesting that the issue was more political than health-related at that point. He said Election Day became “the demarcation line for me” to report the comments. Woodward also revealed that Trump called him out of the blue in February to “unburden himself” about the emerging virus. He was interviewed 17 times for Woodward’s book, Rage.