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Opinion: Donald Trump tries to quash two hugely damaging stories

September 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a news conference at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In any other White House, the Bob Woodward book controversy would be the biggest challenge of the month -- or possibly, year. But the administration was in fact trying to quash two hugely damaging stories in the past week -- the other resulting from Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic article describing derisive comments Trump allegedly made in private about members of the US military who died or were wounded on duty.

That quip is the reason senior White House adviser Jared Kushner recommended "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to author Bob Woodward as one of the crucial texts for understanding his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

Americans could be forgiven for wondering what kind of rabbit hole they've fallen into, after taped interviews for Woodward's new book showed that the President knew last February how contagious and dangerous Covid-19 was, even though he publicly downplayed the threat for weeks -- at a time when concerted action could have saved untold numbers of American lives.

I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic. " SE Cupp wrote, "It's hard, if not impossible, to wrap your mind around this callous and self-serving calculation, wherein the President admits to a journalist -- one with deep credentials, and who has already written a best-selling, behind-the-scenes look at Trump's White House -- that he's actively lying to the American people about a deadly pandemic that will eventually kill, as of this writing, more than 190,000 Americans and counting. "

In the language of Watergate, the scandal Woodward helped uncover nearly 50 years ago, it's a "What did the President know and when did he know it" moment, and as Cupp wrote, "The damning words are recorded, not secondhand, and you can hear them coming from Trump's own mouth. "

Reviewing Woodward's book, Peter Bergen wrote, "The usual White House playbook to deny and denounce unflattering Trump stories can't be used against 'Rage,' because Trump himself, in his own voice, is the book's main source. "

O'Brien, wrote for Bloomberg Opinion: "Trump is a media junkie who has a fixation on the very same reporters he loves to castigate, and he has a limitless belief in his own powers of persuasion.

In the wake of the Woodward tapes, Trump met with reporters Wednesday to rebut the charge that he misled the American people.

Michael D'Antonio, also a Trump biographer, wrote that the President "treated the country to a spin around his fantasyland, where he is a great leader besieged by meanies, and the needless death and suffering due to his failed response to the coronavirus pandemic are not worth acknowledging. "

In The Washington Post, Marc Thiessen pushed back against the accusation that Trump "knew how dangerous the virus was, but intentionally misled Americans and failed to take action. " Citing statements that Dr. Anthony Fauci made through early March suggesting that Americans faced a low risk, Thiessen argued, "until mid-March, no one knew we were facing a once-in-a-generation pathogen. " He added, "Fauci and all of the government's smartest medical minds . . .

Joe Lockhart didn't buy Trump's defense, writing, "The President has repeatedly lied to the American people about the coronavirus and the government's handling of the pandemic.

When asked, "McEnany had the gall to say, 'The President has never lied to the American public on Covid. ' That is patently false . . .

"While President Trump thrills to the ceremonial aspects of his role as commander in chief," wrote Peter Bergen, "he finds it very hard to empathize with or comprehend the ethic of self-sacrifice that is at the core of military service. "

Frida Ghitis wrote, "He may like the big, powerful machines, and the military parades (but reportedly without amputees, since 'Nobody wants to see that. ') But when it comes to protecting, respecting, and understanding the people who make the choice to serve the country, Trump is AWOL. "

Jonathan Reiner: The American people deserve to know about Trump's Walter Reed visit

President Trump said Monday that an "incredible vaccine" against the virus that causes Covid-19 is going to be ready soon -- and possibly by the end of October.

When the department's top intelligence official told Congress that "Moscow had sought to sow discord in the United States in 2016 and had shown a preference for Trump," word reached the President and he demanded the official's firing, Taylor wrote.

Yes, Russia has derived benefits from Trump's presidency, but if Biden wins, it could face much more determined opposition from the US.

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