CNN panel isn’t shocked Trump lied about COVID-19 — because he tried to change a hurricane map
US President Donald Trump updates the media on Hurricane Dorian preparedness from the Oval Office at the White House. (AFP / JIM WATSON)

CNN's political panel Wednesday night wondered if President Donald Trump would lie to them about a hurricane the way that he did about the coronavirus.


But CNN reporter Abby Phillips noted that's exactly what Trump did when he drew a new path for a hurricane on a NOAA map.

"If you think about," host Anderson Cooper said. "If this had been a foreign invasion coming -- as the president said it was. If this had been a hurricane coming and the president had said, you know, at the time to Bob Woodward, I don't want to panic anybody about this hurricane, so I'm just going to say it's a category one or a tropical storm and not really, you know, have the potential to really grow. No, we don't do that. We -- people are informed about what the potential is and people, again, rise to the occasion. Do you think it makes any difference? So many times the president faced controversy without political consequences. Do you think it will be any different this time?"

Phillips recalled the moment that Trump changed the hurricane map.

"We actually had an example of the president trying to literally sharpie his way into a different version of a hurricane map. This is a real thing where the president creates his own reality," said Phillips.

"The one he thinks fits his reelection prospects or political prospects best," she went on. "This is just another version of that involving the coronavirus. The consequences of which 190,000 people have lost their lives. But as far as whether this matters, I mean, you know, speaking to people around the president's campaign, you know, they kind of basically chalk this up to another bad news cycle. One of many by the way that he's had in several weeks and that after a couple of days, a couple of weeks this is going to all blow away."

It's a pattern that they are used to, she explained. The problem, she explained is that this is a virus that isn't going away. As it spreads, people will remember that the reason stems from the lies they were spoon-fed about the virus.

"I don't buy the argument I didn't want to create panic," said CNN's Gloria Borger "This is a president -- it was very revealing to me today when he had his little press conference and he said leadership is about confidence. What he really meant, I think, if you read between the lines is he didn't want to appear to be weak. The worst thing you can tell Donald Trump is you're weak. He didn't want the blame. What he was thinking about was they're going to blame me and I've got to get reelected and I don't want to shut down the economy and I don't want to do the things perhaps science is telling me that I ought to do. So, I'm going to look like I'm in control even though it could cost people lives."

Veteran reporter Carl Bernstein noted that Trump thought he could "charm Woodward" into coming over to his side. It didn't work, but Trump thought he was the master persuader.

"He sits there in realtime talking and covering up his absolute dereliction in which he ignores the national security of the United States," said Bernstein. "Ignores the health and safety of the people of this country in which he knowingly covers up what can cause tens of thousands of deaths. There has never been a stunning moment captured on tape by a leader. These aren't the Watergate tapes. This is something we've never had in our history. We've never had a president with this kind of attitude about the health and safety of the American people -- willing for his own reelection efforts to just throw away lives. This is the ultimate felony by a president of the United States."

See the full panel discussion below: