Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

During an in-person campaign stop in Florida, Sen. Kamala Harris addressed the reporting in Bob Woodward's book "Rage," in which he wrote that President Trump said he down-played the severity of the coronavirus in March.

Driving the news: Harris said Thursday that Trump is engaged "in reckless disregard of the lives and health and well being" of the American people, per a pool report from her roundtable at Florida Memorial University. "I find it so outrageous."

  • In March, Trump told Woodward: "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

What she's saying: Harris participated in a roundtable discussion centered around challenges facing the African American community in South Florida, but she addressed the new reporting at the top.

  • "So, basically what we are hearing is that on Jan. 28, the president and the vice president were informed about the imminence and the dangers of COVID-19," she said.
  • She admonished the president — "who has the unique and very important and special responsibility of concerning himself with keeping the American people safe" — for later calling the coronavirus "a hoax" and dismissing "the seriousness of it to the point he suggested people should not wear masks."
  • Harris continued: "He knew it was airborne that people would breathe it."

Why it matters: Democrats are already airing ads using Trump's own words against him to further convince voters that he mishandled the pandemic and it didn't have to be this way, with 190,000 Americans dead — and counting.

Go deeper: Why Trump talked to Woodward

Go deeper

Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"


In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

Schumer on peaceful transfer of power: "Trump is not a dictator"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday responded to President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the November election, telling CNN that Trump "is not a dictator, and the American people will not allow him to be one."

What he's saying: "The American people are wedded to democracy," Schumer said. "We believe in democracy, and the kind of thing Trump is talking about just will not happen."

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

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