President Donald Trump, who launched his 2016 presidential campaign by fear-mongering about Mexican “rapists,” said with a straight face on Wednesday night that he intentionally misled the public on the coronavirus threat because he doesn’t “want to scare people.”
Following his bombshell admission to legendary journalist Bob Woodward that he knowingly downplayed the virus even though he knew in early February that it was airborne, contagious, and far deadlier than the flu, the president called into close confidant Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to manage the very public fallout.
And he pushed the talking point he and Team Trump had settled on earlier in the day—that he purposely lied to the public in order to prevent panic.
Hannity kicked off the interview by blasting Woodward, saying he didn’t “think a lot of good comes from talking to Bob Woodward,” prompting the president to grouse that the veteran reporter “does hit jobs with everybody.” (It wasn’t that long ago, however, when the president was “ecstatic” about talking to Woodward.)
After Trump said he “almost definitely won’t read” the book because he won’t “have time,” Hannity then applauded Trump’s lying to the public while also defending the president’s response to the pandemic which has now killed over 190,000 Americans.
“I watched your press conference today, and the general tone of the questioning was that you misled the country because you told Bob Woodward on February 7th, this looks like it’s going to be five times as bad as a normal flu virus,” Hannity stated. “I think most Americans may not even know that there are years, with the influenza virus, that we lose tens of thousands of Americans, it’s not uncommon.”
“But your actions just seven days earlier where you put a travel ban in effect and a quarantine in effect—again, hasn’t been done in 50 years,” he continued. “So actions mean something, and you taking it seriously was very clear then, and you say I don’t want people to panic, they say, well, you must have been downplaying it. Wouldn’t your actions contradict that narrative?”
Claiming that the country “could’ve lost 2.5 million” people if he had reacted differently to the virus, the president justified publicly downplaying the threat of the virus, saying he wanted to “show a calmness.”
“I’m the leader of the country, I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people,” he added. “I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”
The president insisting that he doesn’t want to “scare people” will come as news to many, considering that the entirety of his presidency and re-election campaign has consisted of striking fear into Americans.
Besides campaigning on the promise of a border wall to prevent Mexican “rapists” from entering the country, Trump also called for a ban on Muslims until we “can figure out what the hell is going on” during the 2016 campaign. Upon entering office and throughout the 2018 midterms, Trump devoted much of his energy to stoking fear over MS-13 “animals” and immigrant “caravans” making their way to the border.
Following former Vice President Joe Biden securing the Democratic presidential nomination, the president has embraced a “Law and Order” campaign strategy which features him describing Biden’s America as a dystopian hellscape.
While unsubtly dog-whistling that Biden would “destroy our suburbs” by approving “low-quality apartments” and defunding the police, Trump has repeatedly warned that violent antifa mobs will not only take over Democratic-run cities but are also being paid to fly across the country to loot and riot.