Trump condemned Woodward’s book, titled “Rage,” on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, despite publicly predicting last week that he “almost definitely” wouldn’t read it. The comments serve as his latest effort to bash the veteran journalist’s work, as Woodward released recorded interviews with the president that revealed Trump deliberately downplaying the threat of the coronavirus when the virus struck the United States.
“I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring,” Trump said in the phone interview. “But there was not much in that book.”
When asked, “why on earth would the president of [the] United States, sit down and talk to Bob Woodward something like 18 times on tape,” Trump responded by noting the journalist “was a little bit fair.” The president added that he did not speak to Woodward for his previous book on the administration, which was released in 2018.
Woodward’s interviews with the president for “Rage”—released Tuesday—unleashed a total uproar in the press, as Trump referred to the coronavirus as “deadly stuff” and worse than the “strenuous flu” back in February, despite telling the public that it wasn’t more harmful than the flu. Trump also told Woodward in March that he “wanted to always play it down,” citing the coronavirus pandemic, to reduce overall “panic” among Americans.
Trump noted that the book’s accuracy was “fine,” repeating his argument that it was important to minimize “panic” over the threat of the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
“It’s OK, I mean it’s fine. I don’t want to create panic,” Trump said. “People say, you should have gone out there and ... jumped up and down, ‘You’re going to die, you’re going to die.’ No, I don’t want to do that.”
Trump also said “we’re rounding the turn on the pandemic. We’re rounding the turn,” as he spoke about the decreasing coronavirus cases in states that were once epicenters of the virus, like Arizona, Florida and Texas. However, public health experts, including Anthony Fauci who is the top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, disagreed with Trump’s rhetoric and beliefs about the virus taking a “final turn.”
The president also attacked the Washington Post, a publication that Woodward has written for.
“The guy’s a Democrat,” Trump said, referring to Woodward. “[He] works with the Washington Post. I mean that tells you right there … you know all about the Washington Post, you don’t get a break with them. Look, you, you, if you want to remain sane just don’t read it because what they do is disgraceful.”
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.