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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 TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC 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 BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics 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?”