Trump admitted coronavirus was ‘deadly’ in February, new book says
Biden’s Michigan visit marks new stage of presidential campaign
2,000 US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq this month
Donald Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by far-right Norwegian MP
Joe Biden has national 12 point lead among likely voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll
Joe Biden to visit Michigan, will outline an “offshoring tax penalty” policy
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was supposed to start briefing reporters about 20 minutes ago, but she has not yet appeared at the podium.
The reports about Bob Woodward’s new book were released moments before McEnany was scheduled to start her briefing, so she is likely preparing for the onslaught of questions she will receive about the book.
According to Bob Woodward’s new book, Trump also repeatedly insulted military leaders who disagreed with him on national security matters.
An aide to former defense secretary Jim Mattis heard Trump say in a meeting, “My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies.” Mattis asked the aide to document the comment in an email to him.
In his own conversations with Woodward, Trump similarly insulted generals who emphasized the importance of alliances with Nato and South Korea.
“I wouldn’t say they were stupid, because I would never say that about our military people,” Trump said. “But if they said that, they — whoever said that was stupid. It’s a horrible bargain … they make so much money. Costs us $10 billion. We’re suckers.”
The revelations come as the White House continues to deal with fallout from recent reports that Trump referred to fallen soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.”
Trump also boasted to journalist Bob Woodward that his administration had built a new secret weapons system.
“I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before,” the president told Woodward.
Other administration officials confirmed the news to Woodward, but they expressed shock that Trump had disclosed the information to a journalist.
Trump also alarmed his national security team in 2017, as he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to inch closer to war amid an escalating series of insults.
“We never knew whether it was real,” secretary of state Mike Pompeo is reported to have said, “or whether it was a bluff.”
According to Woodward, former defense secretary Jim Mattis slept in his clothes during this time, in order to be ready at a moment’s notice if North Korea launched an attack. The retied general also frequently prayed over the matter at Washington National Cathedral.
According to Bob Woodward’s new book, two of Trump’s most senior advisers, former defense secretary James Mattis and former director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, expressed serious concerns about the president’s leadership and discussed the need to speak out publicly against him.
Mattis is quoted as saying Trump is ‘dangerous,’ ‘unfit,’ has ‘no moral compass’ and took foreign policy actions that showed adversaries ‘how to destroy America.’ After Mattis left the administration, he and Coats discussed whether they needed to take ‘collective action’ to speak out publicly against Trump. Mattis says he ultimately resigned after Trump announced he was withdrawing US troops from Syria, ‘when I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid.’
According to Woodward, Coats also “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump.” Coats could find no other explanation for Trump’s behavior toward Russia, Woodward writes.
Bob Woodward’s new book, “Rage,” includes a number of extraordinary anecdotes about Trump and his advisers, some of whom expressed grave concerns about the president’s leadership.
When discussing the recent protests against racism and police brutality, Woodward said he believed “white, privileged” people had to work to understand “the anger and the pain” of African Americans.
Trump replied, “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
The president has previously said he does not believe systemic racism contributed to recent police killings of African Americans.
Trump admitted coronavirus was ‘deadly’ in February, new book says
Trump told famous journalist Bob Woodward back in February that he knew coronavirus was “deadly” and airborne, even though the president spent the following months downplaying the severity of the virus.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7, according to audio excerpts released by CNN.
Trump also told Woodward that coronavirus was maybe five times “more deadly” than the flu, even though the president later repeatedly compared the novel virus to the flu, which attracted criticism from health experts.
A month later, the president acknowledged that he was seeking to downplay the seriousness of the virus to avoid creating a public “panic.”
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on 19 March. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
The book, entitled Rage, is scheduled to be released next Tuesday.
The Trump campaign has pushed some of its fall ad buys back a week, as polls show Joe Biden leading nationally by an average of about 8 points.
Trump ads were supposed to start airing yesterday in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Nevada, but the start date has been pushed to next Tuesday.
That news comes as the Trump campaign has struggled to land on a central message of attack against Biden.
Recent polls have indicated that the president’s efforts to paint Biden as a “radical socialist” who would be soft on crime are not changing many voters’ minds.
A Republican senator facing a difficult reelection bid is in hot water for his staffer’s comments to a woman with cancer.
Bev Veals, a three-time cancer survivor, contacted the office of North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis because she was worried about losing her health insurance now that her husband has been furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Veals became so frustrated with a staffer in Tillis’ office that she began taping their phone call.
The recording shows Veals asking the staffer, “You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes healthcare?”
The staffer replies, “Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it.”
Veals shot back, “But healthcare is something that people need, especially if they have cancer.”
“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” he responded.
Tillis’ office issued an apology to Veals and said the staffer had been disciplined.
“The way Mrs. Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken,” Tillis’ spokesperson, Daniel Keylin, told local news outlet WRAL.
But Democrats have already pounced on the video, arguing it captures Tillis’ indifference about his constituents’ healthcare.
From a former National Security Council spokesperson under the Obama administration:
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed uncertainty about whether another coronavirus relief bill will pass this year.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Mnuchin said this morning when asked about the odds of passing another relief package. “I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there.”
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote later this week on what Republicans are calling a “targeted” relief bill.
However, even if that bill can pass the Senate, it faces no future in the Democratic-controlled House, considering House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer have criticized the legislation as insufficient to address Americans’ financial needs.
Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement yesterday, “[T]his emaciated bill is only intended to help vulnerable Republican Senators by giving them a ‘check the box’ vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people.”
Democrats have called for a $2.2tn relief package to help Americans who have financially suffered because of the pandemic.
As Joe Biden visits Michigan today, Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Pennsylvania, another state that Trump won by less than 1 point in 2016.
Pence will be in Freedom, Pennsylvania, to host an event for “Workers for Trump,” as both presidential campaigns try to convince voters their candidates are best suited to guide the US economy amid a global pandemic.