The newspaper recalled the then-president boasting on Feb. 26 last year how there were only 15 cases of the coronavirus in the United States and that those infections “within a couple of days are going to be down to close to zero.”
“So Far From Zero,” the tabloid headlined its front page:
Trump’s claim, however, contradicted his own admission in a Feb. 7, 2020, telephone call with journalist Bob Woodward that the virus was “deadly.”
“You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump told Woodward at the time. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous cases of flu.”
Despite his private acknowledgments, Trump in public would later repeatedly downplay the threat posed by the virus, mock people who wore masks to curb its spread, tout unproven drugs, and even ponder the injection of disinfectant as a treatment during a press conference ― before contracting COVID-19 himself and being hospitalized for three days.