The most heartbreaking exchange between Donald Trump and Bob Woodward came on March 19, when the president dramatically informed the reporter that the virus could infect young people after all. If Trump had acted on that inside info, instead of just using it to impress Woodward, 100 children might be alive today, going to school, albeit on Zoom.
But he kept that, and so much more, between him and Woodward, an associate editor at the hated Washington Post who became famous for breaking the Watergate scandal. Earlier, on Feb. 26, the president confided to Woodward that if you just “breathed the air” you could contract a virus five times deadlier than the flu. Two days later, Trump told the rest of us the opposite, that 15 cases of the virus, not a bit worse than the “strenuous flu,” were “soooo under control” they would soon fall to zero. Should anyone get the sniffles, not to worry. Take two aspirin and call your governor in the morning.
The irony is that in attempting to minimize the danger from a strenuous virus to keep the Dow Jones high, unemployment low, bars full, and his re-election inevitable, Trump did the opposite, making life tragically worse for the country and more politically dire for himself. Knowing what he knew and when he knew it prompts a hundred haunting what ifs: