Last Updated on September 10, 2020
In March, around the time of his interview with Bob Woodward, President Donald Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta in a nearly 8-minute exchange in front of national media and Americans watching at home that he wanted to be “a cheerleader for the country” and “give people hope” instead of focusing on negative information, in remarks that closely resemble those published by Woodward and CNN.
According to Woodward, on March 19, around the time of this press conference, President Trump told the Washington Post journalist that “I wanted to always play it down,” and “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
In the March press conference, unearthed by Grabien Media editor Tom Elliott, Acosta asked President Trump why his tone surrounding COVID-19 seemed to change throughout the month of March, as the president began banning air travel from foreign nations and warning the American public of a potentially critical situation in the nation’s hospitals.
BOMBSHELL EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT!
I have rare footage of Trump saying, in March, he is purposefully trying to give people hope despite Covid being a deadly pandemic. pic.twitter.com/nJ3VKHcqfA
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 10, 2020
“I know how bad it is, all you have to look at what was going on in China, it was devastation,” said President Trump. “But you know,” he went on. “I’m not about bad news, I want to give people hope. I want to give them a feeling that we all have a chance.”
“I want to give people a feeling of hope, I could be very negative,” the President continued. “I want to be positive, I don’t want to be negative. I’m a positive person.”
President Trump at one point compared the potential total count of dead Americans from COVID-19, at one time predicted to be over 1 million, to the American Civil War that saw 660,000 Americans die.
“This is really easy to be negative about, but I want to give people hope, too,” said the president. “You know, I’m a cheerleader for the country? We’ve going through the worst thing the country has probably ever seen.”
“I want to give people in this country hope,” added President Trump. “I don’t want to be a negative person.”
While most media has focused on President Trump’s decision to downplay the potential severity of the virus to avoid a public panic, Woodward also published an excerpt of an audio interview with the president where he disavowed the concept of white privilege.
After Woodward asked a rambling question about whether President Trump believes the circumstances of his birth give him immutable benefits that make him unable to understand the suffering of African American communities, President Trump began laughing and told Woodward he “really drank the Kool-Aid.”
“No,” said President Trump, laughing. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”