Watergate journalist Bob Woodward on Monday recalled a comment from former President Donald Trump that led to him being “as stunned as I’ve ever been as a reporter.”
On Monday’s broadcast of “CNN Tonight,” Woodward shared audio of Trump telling him — during interviews he recorded for his 2020 book “Rage” that have now been released separately as “The Trump Tapes” — what he told his young son Barron Trump during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, talking to Woodward on Mar. 19, 2020, said Barron (then 13) had asked him what was going on and he’d responded:
“I said, it came out of China, Barron. Pure and simple. It came out of China. And it should’ve been stopped. And to be honest with you, Barron, they should’ve let it be known it was a problem two months earlier … the world wouldn’t have a problem. We could have stopped it easily.”
“CNN Tonight” host Jake Tapper acknowledged that blame did lie with the Chinese government for covering up the initial spread of COVID-19. But he reminded viewers of how Trump himself had actually been warned of its potential dangers ― and chose to do nothing about it.
At the time of recording that particular interview with Trump, Woodward said he’d had no idea of the warning the then-president had received from his own national security advisors about the virus.
When Woodward learned of the warning, he said he listened to the tape again and concluded: “My God, Trump is conning not just me but his son and he is laying out, ‘Oh this could have been fixed, the Chinese could have done something about it.’ Donald Trump could have done something about it by being honest and warning the public that he as president has constitutional and moral responsibility to do.”
Watch the interview here:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.