Political science professor talks impact of Woodward book on 2020 election

In just days, journalist Bob Woodward is set to release a book all on President Donald Trump, including interviews from earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic really took a hit on the country.

Most notably, the book shares recordings of Trump saying COVID-19 is "deadly stuff" and in another interview, the president admitting he likes to downplay the virus to avoid panic.

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"For a lot of people, they've already made up their mind on the election. And this isn't going to be enough for Republicans to switch the Democratic Party or Democrats to switch to the Republican Party," says Brian Smith, a political science professor at St. Edward's University.

Smith believes that although this book reveals Trump told one person one thing and then turned around and told the American people another about how dangerous this virus is, this information will not be a make or break for the president in this election.

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President Donald Trump speaks on judicial appointments in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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"I think the Republicans are going to say, you know what, he didn't want to cause a great amount of fear," Smith said. "But I think one of the things is, I think it says for a lot of other people, especially Democrats, here, the president knew it was a problem bigger than the flu, yet he didn't do enough. 

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Smith also points out Trump is already behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the polls. "If Trump ends up losing, we can't actually say this caused Trump to lose because he was already losing. For Donald Trump, it may cause him to have a lot more ground to gain."

Trump faced a similar scandal when the Access Hollywood tapes were released right before the 2016 election and Smith says history could repeat itself.

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"A lot of people gave Trump a pass on it," said Smith. "They said we knew he wasn't running his campaign on the idea that he was a straight up good guy. That's not what this campaign is about. And so for a lot of Republicans, I think they're going to look say, you know what, he downplayed it, but it stopped the hysteria. And now we have to look towards the next four years."

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