In an editorial, H. Holden Thorp, the editor-in-chief of Science, rails against President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly his downplaying of its risks.
Thorp writes that many scientists in February and March thought President Trump was either not paying attention to White House briefings on the pandemic or was not receiving the full picture. But recent revelations from Bob Woodward's book Rage instead show President Trump understood the risk of the pandemic, as he told Woodward that he "wanted to always play it down" and that he still likes "playing it down," an exchange Woodward recorded, according to the Washington Post.
"Playing it down meant lying about the fact that he knew the country was in grave danger," Thorp writes at Science. He adds that this also led to the muzzling of health officials like Nancy Messonnier from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
"Trump was not clueless, and he was not ignoring the briefings. Listen to his own words. Trump lied, plain and simple," Thorp adds in his editorial.