Schumer Floor Remarks On How The Woodward Tapes Show That President Trump’s Consistent Lies And Failure To Lead Left The United States Far Behind In Recovery From Coronavirus

September 10, 2020

Washington, D.C.—Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding how the release of excerpts from interviews by Bob Woodward with President Trump. Senator Schumer outlined how these new interviews show that the president knew how deadly the coronavirus was in February, but refused to take the necessary actions to respond and instead misled the American people, downplayed the threat of the virus, and left the U.S. far behind the rest of the world in our recovery from COVID-19. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, it was reported that in taped interviews with Bob Woodward, President Trump acknowledged that he knew the danger posed by COVID-19 way back in February but he deliberately—deliberately—downplayed the threat to the American people.

We know now that the President wasn’t ill-informed. He wasn’t being overly optimistic. He was lying to the American people. He was deliberately downplaying the virus to the American people at a time when early and forceful action could have saved so many lives.

Look, when the house is on fire—a five-alarm fire—you have an obligation to let people know. If you don’t, they're going to burn and they're going to die.

When we look at the rest of the world and see why they’re doing better than we are in fighting this disease, the reason is simple. They had some leadership. We’ve had none from the White House. None. We’ve had lying. We’ve had ignoring the problem. We’ve had misleading the American people. But no leadership at a time when we desperately need it.

Other leaders around the world were clear about science. They faced it up. They faced up to the problem and worked hard to solve it. They instituted policies to test, trace, and isolate.

We had a president who simply lied about the dangers of the disease and suggested that Americans inject bleach.

Other leaders took responsibility and ownership. We had a president who said “it is what it is.” In the annals of history, this will be one of the five greatest examples of lack of leadership in American history. President Trump, the history books are not going to regard you kindly. They are not going to regard you kindly.

The president is coming up with great excuses now for his perfidious lies. This time he said he didn't want to tell the truth about COVID-19 because it might cause panic. Really? Is this the same president who is busy panicking America right now telling women in the suburbs that your safety is at risk when the suburbs are not at risk at all?

Is this the same president who invented a caravan of migrants in an attempt to panic Americans before the last election? This president always uses panic as a tool when he thinks it serves his interest. So the idea that he did it because he didn’t want to panic Americans does not ring true. It seems like an ex post facto excuse for the president’s perfidious lies.

President Trump doesn't mind panicking people when it serves his interests. What is worse is he will not tell the truth when it hurts his interest—even if lives are at stake.

The president’s comments in this interview were despicable—should serve as a warning to all Americans about who this man is and his total, complete, abject failure to lead.