During Bob Woodward’s March 19, 2020 interview with President Donald Trump, Trump admitted that he knew in January that covid-19 was a deadly and highly infectious air born virus; and that he deliberately "played down" the health risk in his public comments.

Trumps comments throughout the pandemic show that he not only "played down" the covid-19 health risk, he flat out lied to the American people.

Some of Trump's false and misleading comments (paraphrased) include: The virus is no worse than the flu. The virus is two people coming in from China and soon it will be down to zero. We have the virus under control and one day it will disappear like a miracle. The virus will disappear in the spring and summer with the heat. Children are immune from the virus. Hydroxychloroquine is like a preventative and knocks it out. Bleach, light, disinfectants, injected or inserted in people should be considered as a treatment. Anyone that wants a test can get a test. America tests more than any other country, and that’s why we have many more cases. If we didn’t test so much we wouldn’t have as many cases. The U.S. has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.

History shows that when a president tells the truth, along with a clear plan for action, Americans will rise to the challenge. Regrettably, Trump did neither.

Trump’s comments "down playing" covid-19 health risks, and his televised political rallies where his supporters were shown shoulder to shoulder, not wearing face masks, became an example for many Americans not to wear face masks or practice social distancing. These behaviors allowed the virus to spread and kill 200,000 Americans.

Trump's failure to tell the truth about the health risks of covid-19, his failure to lead by example, his failure to prepare our country for the virus' eventual arrival, and his failure to implement a national strategy for controlling the virus, may well be the greatest dereliction of duty in the history of the U.S. presidency.

FREDERICK I. LEHR

Grays River

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