Woodward: Trump "Possessed Knowledge That Could Have Saved Lives" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Woodward: Trump "Possessed Knowledge That Could Have Saved Lives"

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Bob Woodward joined NBC News’ TODAY for an interview about "Rage," his new book about the Trump presidency, telling Savannah Guthrie that President Trump “possessed specific knowledge that could have saved lives" surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Woodward taped conversations he had with the president before COVID swept across the country and did not share those talks until the release of his book this month.

"It is one of those shocks for me having written about nine presidents that the President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives," Woodward said Monday. "Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February tens of years."


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Okay. let's talk about some of those early meetings. because the book takes readers inside. you mentioned the January 28th warning about the national security threat. three days later, January 31st, the China travel ban goes into effect. now, the President over these last few months has said over and over again that it was his idea to ban travel from china and that no one agreed with him. he says almost everybody was just absolutely against it. my experts, I didn't listen to my experts. I banned China. your book contains the first meeting that happened with Fauci, Dr. Redfield of the CDC, and Alexander Azar of the HHS. Saying you should ban travel from China to the U.S. and he said okay. So, it's a different story than what the President has been telling.
 
BOB WOODWARD: Not apparently. It is very different and it's essential to the understanding. It's not that President Trump banned travel, people coming from China to the United States. He restricted it. and as we now know, there were some problems and lots of people from China instead of coming to the United States went to Europe. and then came into John F. Kennedy airport in New York. And that's why there was such a fire storm of a virus in New York City at that time.
 
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: But just to put a fine point on it -- your book shows that it wasn't the president up against the world but his advisers said you should do this. And he said okay.
 
BOB WOOWARD: Yes, absolutely. Look. When I learned in May about the January 28th meeting and the specificity, the National Security Adviser and his deputy were giving details to the President about why this is a coming pandemic to the United States, a few days later, he gave his state of the union address to congress 40 million people watched it. He had an opportunity -- he's saying well we're doing everything possible. At that moment if, like, Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor had told the American people the truth, a lot more could have been done. It is one of those shocks for me having written about nine presidents that the President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February tens of years.
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