Lightfoot says Bob Woodward has some explaining to do about his explosive new Trump book

If Trump really did acknowledge the deadly nature of the coronavirus in conversations with author Bob Woodward and if he told Woodward he deliberately played it down, Lightfoot said the heralded reporter of Watergate fame should explain why he sat on the information for months.

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Bob Woodward’s latest book, “Rage,” was excerpted in the Washington Post and CNN on Wednesday.

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If President Donald Trump really did acknowledge the deadly nature of the coronavirus while publicly downplaying the threat to avoid creating “panic,” Bob Woodward will have to explain why he withheld that information, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has responded to the explosive revelation in Woodward’s latest book by accusing Trump of having “knowingly and willingly lied” to the American people for months.

“He knew how dangerous it was. And while a deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job — on purpose,” Biden said during a campaign event in Michigan.

Lightfoot is an ardent Biden supporter who sees things the same way. But she also argued Wednesday that Woodward, who earned the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Watergate scandal that culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon, also has some explaining to do.

“Bob Woodward is a very interesting guy, as you know. He’s obviously been heralded as a great reporter. But you’ll recall that there were also things that he knew … late in the Bush term” and apparently withheld for a book, Lightfoot said.

“He’ll have to answer those questions. Obviously, all of us have to live with our conscience. This would have been something that would have been important for the public to learn, particularly since it seems like he had actual audio tapes [of Trump]. To reveal it now, six-plus months into a worldwide and United States fight against this horrible, horrible virus that’s devastated so many — to hold back — I think he’s gonna have to answer for that.”

Lightfoot has been engaged in a running war of words with Trump that has gotten downright ugly. It culminated in her infamous, “Begins with an F and ends with a You” remark to the president and her Twitter warning to his White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to, “Watch your mouth, Karen.”

On Wednesday, the mayor unloaded on Trump yet again.

“If what is reported is true, it is profoundly disappointing and really worse than that. If the president had information, as he should have … about the deadly impact of this virus andif he chose, instead, to downplay the significance of the virus for whatever ill-intended purpose, lives were lost. And that’s pretty sobering to think about,” the mayor said.

“If the president knew all of that information early on and could have done something differently, that is all I need to hear about why he should not get a second term.”

The Washington Post, where Woodward still serves as associate editor, reported excerpts of the book, “Rage” on Wednesday. So did CNN.

Those excerpts include a Feb. 7 call with Woodward that quotes Trump as saying of the coronavirus: “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. … And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. …This is deadly stuff.”

During yet another interview with Woodward on March 19, the published excerpt from the book quotes Trump as acknowledging he deliberately minimized the danger.

“I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Contributing: Associated Press

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