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Bob Woodward on Donald Trump: “He’s a menace to democracy”


For the previous 9 months in 2020, when the telephone rang at Bob Woodward’s Georgetown house, it was most definitely a name he did not wish to miss:

White Home government: “Mr. Woodward, the president…”
Trump: “Hello, Bob!”

Woodward notes, “The telephone will ring; is it a robotic telephone name or is it Trump?”

Typically, Woodward’s spouse, journalist Elsa Walsh, solutions calls, day or evening. She joked, “I sort of say – like Princess Diana – that there are three individuals on this marriage: Bob, me and Donald Trump. And it is prefer it by no means ends.”

Woodward scattered the tapes round the home, prepared for sudden calls.

Moderator: “Maintain going, Mr. President. You are linked.”
Trump: “Hello, Bob!”
Woodward: “Sir, how are you?”

And Donald Trump would speak (“I respect Putin. I believe Putin likes me. I believe I like him”) and speak (“I advised the king, ‘King, it’s a must to pay us. to be protected'”), about pandemics, North Korea, Russia, race relations, something.

Trump: “I deliver my rage out. I deliver my rage out. I at all times have. … I do not know if it is an asset or a legal responsibility, however no matter it’s, I do.”


Simon & Schuster

There are 16 telephone calls, 20 interviews, eight hours of dialog, which Woodward has compiled into an audiobook, “The Trump Tapes,” popping out this week, printed by Simon & Schuster (a part of the CBS’ father or mother firm, Paramount International.).

Woodward advised CBS Information’ John Dickerson, “In some ways, that is the lacking piece of the Trump story. We have heard rather a lot about Trump. He is talked rather a lot. However what has he carried out? do in the course of the presidency? And given the time, I can return and ask the query, over and over. “

Woodward wrote in regards to the calls, however listening to Trump in his personal voice, he believes, was enlightening: “I reported on this within the e book I wrote, ‘Rage. ” However then I’m going again and hear to those tapes and say, ‘God, there’s a complete new Trump popping out.’

Trump’s tone gives perception into why he could have stored symbols from his presidency at Mar-a-Lago, just like the letters from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. It is clearly a relationship he treasures:

Trump: “We get alongside rather well. We have at all times gotten alongside nice. … You meet somebody and you’ve got good chemistry, and there is plenty of reality. You meet a lady, in a break up second. , you realize whether or not it is all going to occur or not. Okay? We had excellent chemistry with one another.”

Matters revolve round…

Trump: “I mentioned [to Kim], ‘Have you ever heard the tune “Rocket Man”? ” He mentioned, ‘No, no.’ ‘Have you ever ever heard of Elton John?’ ‘No no.’ I mentioned, ‘I did you a giant favor. I referred to as you Rocket Man.’ He mentioned, ‘You referred to as me Little Rocket Man!’

… to the purpose of deadly seriousness…

Woodward: “Did you give Kim an excessive amount of energy?”
Trump: “No.”
Woodward: “As a result of if he challenges, if he shoots a type of ICBMs…”
Trump: “No drawback.”
Woodward: “…what are you going to do, sir?”
Trump: “That does not – let me let you know, whether or not I give it to him or not, if he shoots, he shoots. And if he shoots, he shoots.”

Dickerson requested, “He mentioned of the North Korean chief, ‘If he shoots, he shoots.” How do you react to that? “

“I actually froze,” Woodward replied. “As a result of Trump mentioned in a approach, ‘If he shoots,’ you realize, cavalier sort. And naturally, that will be unthinkable.”

Washington Submit reporter Bob Woodward.

CBS Information

One theme runs via the tape’s eight hours: Trump thinks the presidency is a one-man present

Trump: “I get individuals, they provide you with concepts. However the concepts are mine, Bob. The concepts are mine. Need to know one thing? All the things is mine.”

However a presidency primarily based on persona has been surpassed by COVID-19. What Woodward referred to as the most effective moments of his 50 years of reporting was studying that on January 28, 2020, simply days after the primary confirmed case of COVID-19 in america, Trump’s nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien has made. him a dire warning:

O’Brien: “I believe the precise phrase I used was ‘That is going to be the most important nationwide safety menace you may face throughout your presidency.’ I used to be very obsessed with it.”

Nevertheless, at a rally in New Hampshire two weeks later, Trump mentioned, “It looks as if in April, you realize in concept, when it warms up a bit bit, it magically disappears. Hopefully. It is true!”

When Woodward discovered of the disconnect between what the president knew and what he mentioned, he requested Trump why he wasn’t alarmed:

Trump: “I wish to at all times knock it down, as a result of I do not wish to create a panic.”
Woodward: “Is there a second in all of this, two months in the past, the place you mentioned to your self, ‘Ah, that is the take a look at of a lifetime’s management’?”
Trump: “No!”

Woodward advised Dickerson, “Whenever you hear this voice and the best way he assesses the scenario and himself, he is immersed in himself. And at one level once I was interviewing him and I used to be simply giving phrases. commented, ‘I felt like I used to be speaking to a drowning man, “when he talked in regards to the virus, and he mentioned, ‘We received it below management.’

Taken as a complete, the recordings paint a revealing self-portrait.

Dickerson requested, “Does he consider the presidency as a possession?”

“Sure, I believe he does,” Woodward replied. “I believe [he considers it] as a victory. And he received it. And he’ll preserve it. “

This led to one in every of Woodward’s greatest regrets: the query he did not ask. “There was one level the place I requested him, ‘I heard that if you happen to lose, you are not leaving the White Home?'”

Woodward: “All people mentioned Trump would keep within the White Home if it was disputed. Do you assume …”
Trump: “Oh, I do not – I do not even wish to touch upon that, Bob. I do not wish to touch upon that in the intervening time. Hey, Bob, I’ve all these guys, I am going to speak to them. you later tonight!”

“That was the one time he had no remark,” Woodward mentioned. “And this, after all, was a couple of months earlier than he died. And I slap myself a bit bit: Why do not I observe that up a bit extra?

Dickerson asks, “On the finish of the e book, ‘Rage,’ you say that Donald Trump is ‘notably unfit to be President.’ And now, listening to those tapes, you draw a extra critical conclusion. What’s that conclusion?”

“Trump is the flawed man at work,” Woodward replied. “I notice now, two years later, all January 6 rebellionleads me to conclude that he is not solely the flawed man at work, he is harmful, and he is a menace to democracy, and he is a menace to the president, as a result of as a result of he would not perceive the core obligations that include that workplace.”

For extra data:

The story is produced by Jason Sacca. Editor: Lauren Barnello.

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