Despite saying for months it was his unilateral decision to "ban" people from China entering the United States due to coronavirus concerns, journalist Bob Woodward contends it was an idea pushed by some of his top Cabinet officials.
In his new book about the Trump presidency, title "Rage," Mr Woodward, citing sources, says the plan was first brought to the president by Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Robert Redfield and Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease expert.
"It is very different and it's essential to the understanding" of how the China entry restriction was conceived and implemented, Mr Woodward told NBC's "Today Show" on Monday.
But the longtime journalist's reported account is in stark contrast to the president's boast that it was his call, and his along.
"'Don't close off China. Don't ban China,'" Mr Trump said of his aides' advice in a July GrayTV interview. "And I did it anyway, I sort of didn't listen to my experts and I banned China."
Mr Woodward went so far as to contend the China restriction drove travelers to instead enter the United States via Europe, claiming those people drove the New York area's coronavirus infection spike.
"It's not that President Trump banned travel, people coming from China to the United States. He restricted it," Mr Woodward said. "And as we now know, there were some problems and lots of people from China, instead of coming to the United States went to Europe and then came into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York."
"And that's why there was such a firestorm of a virus in New York at that time,' Mr Woodward speculated without offering any supporting data in a Trumpian-like statement.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
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