Hagel sought to downplay any rift in a statement to Defense Department employees.
Even people from the “nicest” parts of the country try to downplay that “niceness.”
Letty: In the 1950s, my mother always warned me to downplay my knowledge/ vocabulary/opinions.
However, she does not downplay the amount of dark clothes and black eyeliner that are characteristic of her Caster ways.
If Pakistani complicity in the program was exposed, the theory went, why not at least try to downplay its negative fallout.
The White House was quick to downplay the idea of a precedent.
She is also keen to downplay accounts of sectarian violence in Homs, saying it has become a thing of the past.
And the U.S. government is at pains to downplay any espionage incidents, if they speak of them at all.
Instead, she fouled out by trying to defend Obama and downplay the deportation crisis.
Mrs. McCain never tried to downplay her wealth or her status as an heiress.
To deemphasize; minimize; soft-pedal: They're downplaying the role of bias in all this (1968+)