Bob Woodward’s book, released Wednesday, is far more difficult than denouncing fake news for President Trump because he granted the investigative reporter 18 taped interviews.
Oh wait a minute.
The president issued a preventative denunciation last month: “Bob Woodward’s book will be FAKE as always, as many of the others have. But believe it or not, I’ve gotten loads of great books lately! “
(That probably doesn’t include the volumes by Michael Cohen, Peter Strzok, John Bolton, and Mary Trump.)
But here’s the thing. While the president is entitled to forego the rest of “Rage,”
The Washington Post report said the president knew from the start that coronavirus was a great threat to America – and he was the top source.
TRUMP LASHES ON WOODWARD BOOK AS “POLITICAL HIT JOB”
After Trump was warned in late January by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien that the virus “will be the greatest national security threat you face in your presidency,” he offers Woodward a grim assessment in a February 7 appeal:
“You just breathe the air and so it’s over. And that is very difficult. It’s very tricky. It’s also more deadly than your stressful flu … that’s deadly stuff. “
That brought the television producers back to the Trump video, in which they downplayed the threat at the time, saying Covid-19 was no worse than the flu and would soon go away.
And on March 19, when the virus exploded, Trump said to Woodward, “To be honest … I always wanted to downplay him. I still want to downplay it because I don’t want to panic. “
On this point there can be no Atlantic-style controversy over unnamed sources: Woodward, contrary to his usual practice, publishes the tapes.
At a press conference yesterday, the president called the book “another political hit” and that his job was to be a “cheerleader”.
“We don’t want to cause panic. We don’t want to jump up and down ”and“ scare everyone, ”he said, adding,“ The last thing you want to do is create a panic in the country. “Trump said he was” very open “to Woodward and everyone else.
But more than 190,000 deaths later, much of the media accused Trump of not being true. Shortly after Kayleigh McEnany said “the president never downplayed the virus,” CNN host Brianna Keilar broke up and accused the press secretary of “lying”.
Joe Biden wasted no time accusing Trump of lying about the virus and accusing him of “betraying the life and death of the American people”.
The backstory is that despite numerous inquiries, Trump did not speak to Woodward about his extremely critical first book “Fear”. The president later told his staff that he didn’t want this to happen again.
I’ve worked with Woodward, who is tireless and well acquainted with his techniques. He gathers information from cooperative sources, then goes to unruly officials and says he wants to include their point of view as well. Since he literally quotes private conversations, there is always controversy about who leaked what and whether the representation favors one or the other faction.
This book also contains Woodwardian accounts of private conversations. The book says that former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told former intelligence director Dan Coats that Trump was “dangerous” and “unfit … The president has no moral compass.”
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Coats, a former senator, reportedly replied, “Right. For him a lie is not a lie. It’s exactly what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and a lie. “
And “Rage” contains the super-secret private letters between Trump and Kim Jong-un.
But the President’s own words have the most resonance. When Woodward says they are of the same generation and need to “understand the anger and pain” blacks feel, Trump disagrees, in an incredulous voice:
“You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Impressive. No, I don’t feel that at all. “
In another conversation, Trump says: “I have done a lot for the black community. And honestly I don’t feel love. “
There are other flashy Trump quotes, as noted in a New York Times account. He calls the US military “idiots” for paying substantial sums of money to protect South Korea: “We defend you, we allow you to exist.”
Woodward also quotes Trump when he told trade advisor Peter Navarro in 2017, “My generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than about trade deals. “
Woodward’s standard technique is to state all the facts he can gather, Sgt. Let the readers draw their own conclusions. But this book is an exception.
Woodward is already heating up for not disclosing previous Covid talks with Trump because he could have saved lives. After writing six books, I can tell you that Trump just wouldn’t have said these things if he’d thought it was in the paper this week. Woodward told the Post that the importance of the earliest virus talks before the pandemic wasn’t clear, that he wasn’t sure Trump was telling the truth, and the purpose of the book was to put the presidency in a larger context.
Robert Costa, co-author of the Post article, told MSNBC that his colleague concluded that Donald Trump was not fit for office.
Woodward writes about the virus: “Trump never seemed ready to fully mobilize the federal government and seemed to keep driving the states’ troubles away.” There was no real management theory in place, or how to organize a massive corporation to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States has ever faced. “
As the author of Watergate bestsellers, Woodward has the right to explain his conclusion on Trump’s tenure. But that opens up the charge that his real motive is to oust the president in a book published two months before the election. His real contribution may be what Richard Nixon never did: all those words that voters can ultimately judge Donald Trump by.