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Historian predicts Trump downplaying pandemic will go down as 'the greatest dereliction of duty' in presidential history

Allan Lichtman, the historian known for accurately predicting presidential elections, said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic will be remembered as “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history. 

“This is the greatest dereliction of duty in the history of the U.S. presidency,” Lichtman, a professor of history at American University, told CTV News Channel on Thursday.

Lichtman was responding to claims made in veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book “Rage.” 

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Woodward’s book, which is set to publish on Sept. 15, builds upon 17 interviews with the president, including one in which Trump said COVID-19 was "deadly" in early February, and later told the author he intentionally minimized its seriousness in public to avoid causing panic.

"I wanted to always play it down," Trump reportedly told Woodward in a subsequent interview in March. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic.”

Lichtman said he doesn’t believe Trump didn’t want to cause panic.

“What is Trump’s whole campaign based on? Causing panic,” Lichtman said. “‘Elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list GOP lawmaker blasts incoming freshman over allegations of presidential voter fraud Haaland has competition to be first Native American to lead Interior  MORE and your streets are going to burn. The criminals will be attacking your houses. The suburbs will be abolished.’ This is a guy who’s worried about causing panic? Come on. How could you possibly believe that?”