LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday sharply criticized President Donald Trump following revelations that he had purposely downplayed the deadly coronavirus, calling it “devastating” news and Trump the “biggest threat” to Americans.
Whitmer, a Democrat whose state was hit hard by COVID-19 in the spring, reacted a day after the release of excerpts from journalist Bob Woodward’s book. Woodward, who interviewed Trump 18 times and recorded the conversations, said the president acknowledged being alarmed by the virus in February, even as he was telling the nation it was no worse than the flu and that it would swiftly disappear.
“It’s just devastating to hear that,” the governor said. “We’ve been working so hard to save lives.”
She said it is one thing for Trump to have not been well informed about the novel virus.
“But it’s a whole other thing to be reckless or ignorant and to be deceptive and to have American lives lost because of it,” Whitmer said. “They knew. They didn’t tell us. … The biggest threat to the American people is the American president now. It’s devastating. I do not relish saying that.’’
Trump has said he was just being a “cheerleader” for the country and trying to keep everyone calm.