• Former President Trump projected public confidence about the coronavirus but privately was worried.
  • He faced sleepless nights, a forthcoming books says. 
  • Trump had also hoped to face off against Bernie Sanders during the 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump publicly downplayed the coronavirus as it was making its way across the globe in 2020, but all the while he faced sleepless nights as he panicked about the economy and his prospects for reelection, says a forthcoming book. 

According to the book "The Big Lie" by Jonathan Lemire of Politico, when Trump was in India in February 2020 he called up White House economic advisors, including Larry Kudlow, during the night to express his concerns. 

"The sun would not rise for several hours in India, but President Trump hadn't slept, pacing in his palatial New Delhi hotel suite," says an excerpt Politico published Friday. "He was battling some jet lag, to be sure, but he wasn't awake because of that, or because he was still charged up from the 110,000-person rally he had held at the world's largest cricket stadium or the majestic tour he had received of the Taj Mahal."

Despite the reportedly anxiety-induced insomnia, Trump during a meeting with business leaders in New Delhi told those gathered that the virus was "a problem that's going to go away" and added that "our country is under control." When he later took a flight back to the US, he barely slept, the book says. 

Another issue contributing to Trump's insomnia, according to "The Big Lie," was that he had hoped to face off against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described Democratic socialist who ended up losing the Democratic nomination to centrist Joe Biden.

The book doesn't represent the first revelation that Trump's public statements clashed with his private conversations. Journalist Bob Woodward revealed in his book "Rage" that on February 7, 2020, Trump knew the virus was deadly and worse than the flu.

The former president admitted to Woodward about a month later that, "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic." That book came out just before the 2020 election that Trump lost. 

Despite Trump seeminly understanding the gravity of the situation with the pandemic, it didn't do much to change his behavior. Trump largely refused to wear a mask in public, held large public rallies, and later caught a case of COVID-19 that led to him being hospitalized. He had the illness before vaccines were available.

According to the book, Trump didn't want to wear a mask because doing so would make him look like "a pussy," he told aides. Publicly, Trump did say that he preferred not to wear masks and mocked Biden for having "the biggest mask I've ever seen" even when he wasn't in close proximity to others. 

Read the original article on Business Insider