Hence my inability to get worked up about the 52-second snippet of conversation between two septuagenarians released amid a great deal of manufactured outrage on Wednesday afternoon. If reports are to be believed, this fragment from Woodward’s “explosive new book” (the exact phrase that has been used to describe very nearly every book the man has published in my lifetime) is evidence of a — get this — “cover-up” of the not exactly secret virus that emerged in Wuhan last fall. Here is an exact transcript of the exchange that has already given rise to to hundreds of thousands of words of meaningless commentary. As far as I can tell, the only noteworthy thing about it is President Trump’s mistaken impression that the virus, whose average victim is older than the life expectancy, poses a meaningful (as in greater than influenza, which killed nearly 2,000 Americans aged 17 or younger in its 2017-18 season) risk to younger persons.
Maybe I missed something. Did you catch it, ladies and gentlemen, the exact moment when Nixon, sorry, I mean Trump, confessed his crimes on tape to the world’s best-known political reporter, just as (remember that we spent three years pretending to believe this!) he once initiated the hacking of email accounts associated with various sordid personalities involved in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign during a live television interview in the middle of a political convention?