Those crumpled papers near President Trump's trash bin? Some might have been US intelligence reports warning about the coronavirus. That's according to a Washington Post report about classified warnings Trump apparently received in January and February and fully ignored as he assured the American people that everything would be OK. "I think it's going to work out fine," he said on Feb. 19. "I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus." But US officials say that by February, most of his daily briefing papers included warnings about the coronavirus, and then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was raising the alarm in regular meetings.
But Trump rebuffed the data, officials say, because he didn't think the virus had spread in America and he believed Chinese President Xi Jingping's claim that the infection was under control. "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus," Trump tweeted Jan. 24. "The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency." But China has since been criticized for its slow response to the outbreak. As an aside, the Post notes that intelligence reports on the virus also went to members of Congress—including Sens. Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, and Dianne Feinstein, who sold off millions in stocks before the Wall Street downturn, per USA Today. The Guardian reports that Trump criticized the Post's report Saturday, calling it "a disgrace" and "very inaccurate." (Read more coronavirus stories.)