The biggest bombshells in Bob Woodward’s Rage already have been reported, but in his first sit-down interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday, the famed investigative jounalist explained why he decided to make a final judgment in his book about Donald Trump — that the president was the “wrong man for the job.”
“You’re known as the reporter who doesn’t put his thumb on the scale. And yet, at the end of this book, you do just that,” 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley said to Woodward.
“It’s a conclusion based on evidence, overwhelming evidence, that he could not rise to the occasion with the virus and tell the truth,” Woodward responded. “And one of the things that President Trump told me, ‘In the presidency, there’s always dynamite behind the door.’ The real dynamite is President Trump. He is the dynamite.”
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Last week, CNN and The Washington Post reported on the most newsworthy revelation in the book: That Trump knew on Feb. 7 that the coronavirus virus was “deadly” and airborne, and that it was worse than the flu. Yet Trump downplayed the severity and the threat of the virus throughout the month, and even compared it to the seasonal flu.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to downplay the potential for the virus to spread, as he has mocked his rival Joe Biden for wearing a mask. His campaign continues to hold rallies in which supporters are tightly packed together and many not wearing masks. In fact, just as the 60 Minutes interview was airing, the Trump campaign was getting ready to hold its first indoor rally in three months, an event scheduled Sunday evening in Henderson, NV. Masks are recommended but not required.
Woodward interviewed Trump 18 times for the book, leading to much speculation as to why the president would choose to be grilled so extensively by the famed investigative reporter. One theory: Trump thought that he could sway Woodward’s view of his administration’s performance by sheer force of personality and persuasion.
Instead, Trump has been on defense over his comments, which Woodward caught on tape. The president said that he downplayed the threat of the virus because he didn’t want to “panic” Americans, even though he has routinely sounded the alarm over the threat of Antifa and that Democrats were out to destroy the suburbs.
In his last interview with Trump in August, Woodward said, the topic again was on the coronavirus, as the pandemic continued to spread throughout the country. Trump insisted during the interview that “nothing more could have been done” to curb the virus.
“Nothing more could have been done. Does he remember what he told me, back in February, about it’s more deadly than the flu?” Woodward told Pelley. “I mean it almost took my breath away, that there was such certainty, when he was absolutely wrong about the issue that defines the position of this country right now.”
They did chat once more in August, but by that point the book was already on its way to the publisher. Woodward said that he told Trump, “It’s a tough book. There are going to be things that you are not going to like, judgments that I made.”
“It looks like I don’t have it on this book, but we’ll get you sometime later, I guess,” Trump said, in a recording that was played on 60 Minutes.
Woodward told Pelley, “An hour and a half later, he tweeted out that the Bob Woodward book is going to be fake.”
Bob Woodward says an hour and a half after he told President Trump that his new book would be tough on him, the president “tweeted out that the Bob Woodward book is going to be fake.” https://t.co/dFnYXQkgtk pic.twitter.com/gwcuJf8ohY
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 13, 2020