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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president “remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day.”

USA TODAY

Despite recognizing the threat of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump told journalist Bob Woodward he had no fear of contracting COVID-19 himself.

“Well, you’re risking getting it, of course, the way you move around and have those briefings and deal with people. Are you worried about that?” Woodward asks on tapes of his conversations with Trump that released for his new book “Rage.”

“No, I’m not. I don’t know why I’m not. I’m not,” Trump replied. The recording can be heard on CNN’s website.

Trump is being treated at Walter Reed Military Medical Center after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Leading up to the test, Trump had campaigned vigorously before crowds that weren’t wearing masks. 

During his presidential debate Tuesday, Trump pointed out his different attitude about masks with his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Coronavirus pandemic: Here’s what Trump’s positive COVID-19 test means for the 2020 election campaign

Trump pulled a mask from his coat pocket and said he wears it “when needed.” But he was critical of Biden, saying “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he has got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet from you and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

In the interview with Woodward on April 13, Trump left no doubt about the seriousness of the coronavirus. “This rips you apart,” he said. He recalled someone sneezing inside a room at the White House and “the entire room bailed out, including me,” fearing the virus was being spread.

What happens if Trump’s COVID gets worse?: Line of succession and transfer of power explained

Trump, however, didn’t expand on why he didn’t fear catching the virus himself.

In interviews with Woodward between December 2019 and July 2020, Trump discussed the threat of the coronavirus with a level of detail that he had not yet acknowledged to the public, noting Feb. 7 that it was “deadly stuff,” and “more deadly than your — even your strenuous flus.” 

While Trump discussed the threat of the virus to Woodward, he continued to assure the public that it was “under control” in the U.S. and would “go away.”

The pandemic has caused over 208,000 deaths in the United States with cases totaling over 7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the virus worldwide/

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Contributing: Jeanine Santucci

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/10/03/president-donald-trump-coronavirus-bob-woodward-audio-recording/3607185001/



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