According to both CNN and the Washington Post, Bob Woodward’s new book ‘Rage’ produces evidence that President Trump was aware of how deadly the coronavirus was and downplayed it to the United States in the first months of the pandemic. Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins The Final Round to discuss the content of the ‘Rage’ and what this means for Trump’s re-election.
SEANA SMITH: President Trump may have known just about how serious and how deadly the coronavirus could potentially be before it hit the United States. This is according to a new book out by Bob Woodward. It will be released next week. CNN and "Washington Post" obtaining a copy of the release of the book ahead of that next week. But President Trump acknowledging the danger of COVID-19 in recorded interviews while he publicly downplayed that threat. And Rick Newman, just in terms of what he was quoted saying amongst other things that quote, this is deadly stuff, I always wanted to play it down. Obviously, this is in stark contrast to what we heard from President Trump publicly when he spoke about the virus.
RICK NEWMAN: Right, so the upshot here is that Trump was not just saying one thing privately and another thing publicly that were in conflict with each other, but he was saying this to a reporter who recorded the conversation. So Woodward has these recordings with Trump, and this is in early February. This was before a lot of us even knew this was coming, I mean, here in New York, which became a hotspot. You know, New York didn't become a terrible hotspot really until March.
So Trump did have inside information that this was going to be a terrible pandemic, and he told a reporter about it. So now, I think tonight or tomorrow, you're going to start seeing ads run by Joe Biden and the Democrats that contrast what Trump was saying publicly, stuff like, it will disappear by April, don't worry about it, it's the sniffles, with the recording of him telling Bob Woodward that this virus is, quote "deadly."
SEANA SMITH: Well, Rick, what does this mean for his reelection chances? Because we know President Trump, obviously, he's fallen in the polls recently. That gap between him and Biden getting bigger and bigger because the current mayor pandemic and how the administration handled that. So what does this mean just in terms of November, and because we're just, what, less than two months from the election.
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, during the last month or so, Biden has not enlarged his lead, although you could say-- I mean, you know, it depends what polls you're looking at. It has either shrunk by a little bit or remained fairly steady. Biden is ahead in most polls, including in most swing state polls, but most analysts expect the race to tighten.
And as with any other news about President Trump, you have to ask the question how many people haven't made up their mind yet about whether they're going to vote and who they're going to vote for, and will this perhaps persuade them not to vote for Trump? So that might be 5% to 10% of the electorate, and I think it probably matters how this plays. And to be specific, it matters how it plays in the handful of swing states we keep talking about-- Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
So could there be people in those states who say, you know, this is it. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm done with this guy. I suppose. It's probably going to be close in many of those states, and you know, one thing we know we can say I guess for sure is this sure doesn't help Trump.
- Hey, Rick, maybe this is too inside baseball. We were just talking about this point, that some people have criticized or are beginning to criticize Woodward for not disclosing this earlier. What do you think about that?
RICK NEWMAN: I think that's a legitimate point, and we saw some similar things, you know, Michael Schmidt, a reporter for "The New York Times" had a book that came out just two weeks ago, I think, that had some similar revelations that he did not publish in "The New York Times." I actually think those papers should probably have to answer that question. I don't know what the right thing to do is, but, you know, is Bob Woodward working on behalf of "The Washington Post" when he's gathering this information, or is he on book leave? Is he technically not working for The Post while he's writing his book? I don't know the answer, but I think the papers and the news organization should answer that question.