"You can be mad that Trump withheld the fact that COVID19 is deadly and airborne back in February,” wrote Siva Vaidhyanathan, an author and columnist for The Guardian. "You should also be furious that Bob Woodward withheld the fact that Trump knew it and said it on the record.”
In particular, what was Bob Woodward's responsibility in reporting that what Trump said in public was at odds with his private statements about COVID?
Critics say Woodward should have shouted to the world that Trump said COVID was "tricky", "deadly stuff" and worse than the flu. They argue Woodward had a duty to the public, not his publisher, because it might have saved lives. Needless to say Woodward wouldn't have been granted all 18 interview sessions had he released that damning recording early on.
I believe that Woodward is doing the right thing by releasing the book and making public the recordings just before people start voting. His book will have the greater impact on the election now than had he released the recording last February. The threat to the world is Trump more than Coronavirus. Coronavirus is merely an example of Trump's mismanagement. Coronavirus is bad; Trump makes it worse. If Woodward's book makes Trump play defense for couple weeks during the thick of the campaign thus making it harder for Trump to win re-election, thank you Mr. Woodward. Anything else damning that Woodward reported in his book is icing on the cake.
Let's say Woodward had said something back in February. Would it have made a difference? The tape was first made public a week or two ago. Trump's supporters are still maskless and crowding together. His supporters still think that COVID is a hoax, or that they are immune to it or that it will disappear magically. The cultists believe whatever he says. FOX News is would have reported that Trump did the right thing by not being straight with the public to "avoid a panic" just as they are now.
The rest of us knew Trump was wrong whenever he dismissed concerns about COVID or had recommendations about how to treat it or when the "cure" would be available. Most people know Trump is a liar and not to be trusted.
So whose mind and behavior would have been changed had we heard Woodward's recordings earlier?