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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Leading vs lying - It’s hard to take Bob Woodward’s gotcha gambit seriously

 Last week, the wretched anti-Trump foot solider Jeffrey Goldberg made up things that Trump was supposed to have said about American soldiers and, armed with his four anonymous sources, published it in the Atlantic. The charges were instantly contradicted by a wide range of people who had actually been with President Trump on the occasion (including the Trump critic John Bolton). But no matter. The accusations made the rounds of the news shows and have been faithfully parroted by Dem operatives, including Joe Biden, ever since.

On Wednesday, the next little stink bomb dropped. Bob ‘Watergate’ Woodward leaked a snippet of a telephone interview he conducted with the President in February. Why Donald Trump decided to speak with the notoriously sketchy Woodward is a question for the ages. But he did. And when they got around to the Chinese virus, at that time still an amorphous threat, Trump frankly admitted that he endeavored to soft pedal the threat. ‘I wanted to always play it down,’ he said. ‘I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.’

* * * * * * * * *

At the Thursday news briefing, ABC’s Jonathan Karl got to ask the first question. ‘Why did you lie to the American people,’ he began.

Right. The President rightly objected to the tone of the question but then went on to point out that he was leading, not lying. Leading vs lying: it’s a pertinent distinction that went over the heads of Karl and his piranha-like colleagues (actually, they probably understood it but are constitutionally incapable of giving Trump credit for anything).

The whole sorry performance was as pathetic as it was mendacious. As Victoria Taft and others have noted, the idea that Trump should be faulted for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus is risible since, although he said calming things, he took effective action at the time and was roundly denounced by the Democrats for doing so.

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