September 10, 2020, 02.20 PM

"I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy," he said. "We have to show leadership and the last thing you want to do is create a panic."

He slammed Woodward for doing "hit jobs with everybody" and said he "probably, almost definitely won't read it because I don't have time to read it".

However, "Rage" will give fresh ammunition to the Democrats arguing that Trump failed to prepare Americans for the severity of the coronavirus outbreak or to lead them into a proper response.

Read also: Mike Pence Warns US Republicans: “You Won’t Be Safe” under Joe Biden

In the interviews with Woodward, Trump made clear he'd understood at the outset that the virus was "deadly stuff" — far more dangerous than the ordinary flu.

In public, however, Trump repeatedly told Americans during the initial weeks at the start of 2020 that the virus wasn't dangerous and would "disappear" by itself.

"He knew how deadly it was," Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden said while campaigning in Michigan. "He lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months."

"It was a life and death betrayal of the American people," Biden added.

"It's disgusting," Biden later told CNN. "Think about it. Think about what he did not do." Biden slammed Trump's behavior as "almost criminal".

Mixed messages

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