As soon as Bob Woodward’s Rage was announced a few weeks back, I knew it would end up being a big deal. Woodward doesn’t rush to publish his many exclusives, and he always gets tons of access to the worst people. People always want to talk to Woodward because none of these a–holes want to be blamed for any of this. Too bad. Anyway, Rage will be published next week, and the Washington Post published some exclusive excerpts. The big talking point is that Trump admitted, on the record, to purposefully downplaying and minimizing the pandemic. But holy sh-t, there’s so much dumbf–kery in these excerpts. Some highlights:
Trump was warned about the seriousness of the virus on Jan. 28: “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told Trump. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.” Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
Trump decided quickly to downplay it & lie about it: Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis. At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.
He admits his intention on the record: Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
On the incident in June when he gassed kids & clergy for a photo-op. On June 3, two days after federal agents forcibly removed peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square to make way for Trump to stage a photo opportunity outside St. John’s Church, Trump called Woodward to boast about his “law and order” stance. “We’re going to get ready to send in the military slash National Guard to some of these poor bastards that don’t know what they’re doing, these poor radical lefts,” Trump said.
On white privilege: In another conversation, on June 19, Woodward asked the president about White privilege, noting that they were both White men of the same generation who had privileged upbringings. Woodward suggested that they had a responsibility to better “understand the anger and pain” felt by Black Americans. “No,” Trump replied, his voice described by Woodward as mocking and incredulous. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
On Obama: “I don’t think Obama’s smart,” Trump told Woodward. “I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker.” Trump added that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thought Obama was “an a–hole.”
I can feel Trump’s baby fists clenching and imagine him openly seething with jealousy as he said “I don’t think Obama’s smart. I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker.” Dipsh-t. As for the information about the pandemic… the only thing that’s really news to me is that privately, Trump did take the reports out of China seriously in January and February. I always assumed that he was in those meetings, actively ignoring the reports and playing it down privately too. Nope. Turns out he did know how bad it would be and he didn’t give a sh-t. Of course Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Woodward was lying, and that Trump never said that. Then hours later on Wednesday, Trump said Woodward got it right.
WH officials warned Trump that talking to Bob Woodward was a bad idea, we are told. But Trump went forward with the hours of interviews anyway. A source, who has direct knowledge of discussions, said Trump and Kushner thought Woodward interviews were a good idea.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 9, 2020
Trump responds to leaked audio that revealed he delayed action against COVID in February: "You didn’t really think it was going to be to the point where it was." pic.twitter.com/TL43Y0Tjiy
— The Recount (@therecount) September 9, 2020
“The President never downplayed the virus.” -Kayleigh McEnany
“I wanted to always play it down.” -President Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/wlgicjgjT3
— ElElegante101 (@skolanach) September 9, 2020
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.