It must be close to election time, because the press is pulling out all the stops to release new "bombshell" reports to take down President Donald Trump. And, as with so many before, it looks like this latest one might make have all the explosive power of a wet firework.
NIAID Director and coronavirus task force leader Dr. Anthony Fauci is contradicting some of the new claims made in Bob Woodward’s book "Rage," which alleges that Trump admitted to intentionally misleading the public in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with Fox News’ John Roberts, Fauci denied the claim that Trump ever downplayed the coronavirus threat to the public. He also denied that he ever said the president wasn’t focused in meetings about the pandemic because he was distracted with trying to get re-elected, as Woodward claims in his book.
"I don’t recall anything different than in our discussions that we had with the president, that he said things quite similar publicly,” Fauci said, adding that he hasn’t yet read the book.
"I didn't see any discrepancies between what we told [Trump] and what he told the public,” he continued.
"So did you get a sense that [President Donald Trump] was or wasn't playing [the coronavirus] down?" Roberts asked.
"No, no, no, I didn't. I didn't get any sense that he was distorting anything," Fauci answered.
Fox News's @johnrobertsFox: "Did you get a sense that [President @realDonaldTrump] was or wasn't playing [the coronavirus] down?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 9, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "No, no, no, I didn't. I didn't get any sense that he was distorting anything..." pic.twitter.com/MemwkWKrc6
Fauci also denies that he ever said some of the quotes attributed to him in Woodward's book.
"You are quoted in the Woodward book as well," Roberts told Fauci. "According to the Washington Post, 'Fauci at one point tells others that the president 'is on a separate channel' and unfocused in meetings , with 'rudderless' leadership, according to Woodward. 'His attention span is like a minus number,' Fauci said, according to Woodward. 'His sole purpose is to get re-elected.'"
"If you notice, it was 'others have said that,' so you should ask 'others.' I don't recall that at all," Fauci said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci disputes quote attributed to him in the Woodward book: “I don’t recall that at all” pic.twitter.com/NhnUHgLTpf— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 9, 2020
Fauci’s account flies in the face of Woodward’s claims in his new yet-to-be-released book, which apparently includes excerpts from over a dozen taped interviews with the president. In an passage from the book released Wednesday, Woodward claims Trump admitted that he knew about the severity of the coronavirus even as he reassured the public that the pandemic wouldn’t be too bad, saying that Trump told him, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."