Speed Reads

'I wanted to always play it down'

Never Trump conservatives turn president's attempt to 'play down' coronavirus into calls to impeach him again

In a preview of Bob Woodward's forthcoming book Rage published Wednesday in The Washington Post, President Trump went on the record with some pretty disturbing revelations: He knew in February that COVID-19 was "deadly stuff," but told Woodward in mid-March that "I wanted to always play it down" anyway.

Democrats quickly condemned the comments, and even conservatives, including the Post's Jennifer Rubin, suggested it warranted a second round of impeachment proceedings.

The conservative, anti-Trump Lincoln Project tweeted a reminder that a president can be impeached twice, and then twisted Trump's words into a scathing ad.

Meanwhile Republican senators uniformly insisted they hadn't read the report in question, even when reporters read it to them.

And Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), one of Trump's few Senate GOP foes, only gave a tepid condemnation of Trump's deliberate underreaction to the coronavirus, saying "that's not ideal to me."

Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro, who was quoted by Woodward, declared that the reporter "put words in my mouth I never said." And inside the White House, aides and advisers were reportedly arguing over just who let the president talk to Woodward in the first place. Kathryn Krawczyk