Bob Woodward book ‘Rage:’ Trump admits to concealing true threat of coronavirus

“This is deadly stuff,” Trump advised Woodward on February 7.

In a collection of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a shocking degree of element concerning the threat of the virus sooner than beforehand identified. “Pretty amazing,” Trump advised Woodward, including that the coronavirus was perhaps 5 occasions “more deadly” than the flu.

Trump’s admissions are in stark distinction to his frequent public feedback on the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”

The book, utilizing Trump’s personal phrases, depicts a President who has betrayed the general public belief and essentially the most elementary tasks of his workplace. In “Rage,” Trump says the job of a president is “to keep our country safe.” But in early February, Trump advised Woodward he knew how lethal the virus was, and in March, admitted he saved that data hidden from the general public.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump advised Woodward on March 19, whilst he had declared a nationwide emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
If as an alternative of enjoying down what he knew, Trump had acted decisively in early February with a strict shutdown and a constant message to put on masks, social distance and wash fingers, experts believe that 1000’s of American lives may have been saved.

The startling revelations in “Rage,” which CNN obtained forward of its September 15 launch, had been made throughout 18 wide-ranging interviews Trump gave Woodward from December 5, 2019 to July 21, 2020. The interviews had been recorded by Woodward with Trump’s permission, and CNN has obtained copies of some of the audio tapes.

“Rage” additionally contains brutal assessments of Trump’s presidency from many of his former prime nationwide safety officers, together with former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mattis is quoted as calling Trump “dangerous” and “unfit” to be commander in chief. Woodward writes that Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump.” Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, “How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation.”

The book additionally comprises harsh evaluations of the President’s management on the virus from present officers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s prime infectious illness knowledgeable, is quoted telling others Trump’s management was “rudderless” and that his “attention span is like a minus number.”

“His sole purpose is to get reelected,” Fauci advised an affiliate, in accordance to Woodward.

‘The virus has nothing to do with me’

Woodward reveals new particulars on the early warnings Trump acquired — and sometimes ignored.

In a January 28 prime secret intelligence briefing, nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien gave Trump a “jarring” warning concerning the virus, telling the President it might be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency. Trump’s head “popped up,” Woodward writes.

O’Brien’s deputy, Matt Pottinger, concurred, telling Trump it might be as dangerous because the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million individuals worldwide, together with 675,000 Americans. Pottinger warned Trump that asymptomatic unfold was occurring in China: He had been advised 50% of these contaminated confirmed no signs.

At that point, there have been fewer than a dozen reported coronavirus circumstances within the US.

Three days later, Trump introduced restrictions on journey from China, a transfer instructed by his nationwide safety crew — regardless of Trump’s later claims that he alone backed the journey limitations.
Nevertheless, Trump continued to publicly downplay the hazard of the virus. February was a lost month. Woodward views this as a damning missed alternative for Trump to reset “the leadership clock” after he was advised this was a “once-in-a-lifetime health emergency.”

“Presidents are the executive branch. There was a duty to warn. To listen, to plan, and to take care,” Woodward writes. But within the days following the January 28 briefing, Trump used high-profile appearances to reduce the threat and, Woodward writes, “to reassure the public they faced little risk.”

During a pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox News February 2, Trump mentioned, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” Two days later throughout his State of the Union address, Trump made solely a passing reference to the virus, promising, “my administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.”

Asked by Woodward in May if he remembered O’Brien’s January 28 warning that the virus can be the most important nationwide safety threat of his presidency, Trump equivocated. “No, I don’t.” Trump mentioned. “I’m sure if he said it — you know, I’m sure he said it. Nice guy.”

The book highlights how the President took all of the credit score and none of the accountability for his actions associated to the pandemic, which has contaminated 6 million Americans and killed greater than 185,000 within the US.

“The virus has nothing to do with me,” Trump advised Woodward of their remaining interview in July. “It’s not my fault. It’s — China let the damn virus out.”

‘It goes by way of the air’

When Woodward spoke to Trump on February 7, two days after he was acquitted on impeachment fees by the Senate, Woodward anticipated a prolonged dialog concerning the trial. He was stunned, nevertheless, by the President’s deal with the virus. At the identical time that Trump and his public well being officers had been saying the virus was “low risk,” Trump divulged to Woodward that the evening earlier than he’d spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping concerning the virus. Woodward quotes Trump as saying, “We’ve got a little bit of an interesting setback with the virus going in China.”

“It goes through the air,” Trump mentioned. “That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

But Trump spent most of the following month saying that the virus was “very much under control” and that circumstances within the US would “disappear.” Trump mentioned on his journey to India on February 25 that it was “a problem that’s going to go away,” and the following day he predicted the quantity of US circumstances “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

By March 19, when Trump advised Woodward he was purposely downplaying the hazards to keep away from making a panic, he additionally acknowledged the threat to younger individuals. “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people,” Trump mentioned.

Publicly, nevertheless, Trump has continued to insist simply the alternative, saying as lately as August 5 that kids had been “almost immune.
Even into April, when the US turned the nation with essentially the most confirmed circumstances on this planet, Trump’s public statements contradicted his acknowledgements to Woodward. At an April 3 coronavirus job drive briefing, Trump was still downplaying the virus and stating that it might go away. “I said it’s going away and it is going away,” he mentioned. Yet two days in a while April 5, Trump once more advised Woodward, “It’s a horrible thing. It’s unbelievable,” and on April 13, he mentioned, “It’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it.”

‘Dangerous’ and ‘unfit’

Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, performed tons of of hours of confidential background interviews with firsthand witnesses for “Rage,” and he obtained “notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential documents,” together with greater than two dozen letters Trump exchanged with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un. Woodward is understood to document his interviews with the permission of his topics and sources.

He writes that when he attributes precise quotations, ideas or conclusions, that data comes both from the particular person, a colleague with direct data or paperwork.

Trump’s aware downplaying of the coronavirus is one of quite a few revelations in “Rage.” The book is crammed with anecdotes about prime cupboard officers blindsided by tweets, annoyed with Trump’s lack of ability to focus and scared about his subsequent coverage directive as a result of he refused to settle for information or pay attention to consultants:

— Mattis is quoted as saying Trump is “dangerous,” “unfit,” has “no moral compass” and took international coverage actions that confirmed adversaries “how to destroy America.” After Mattis left the administration, he and Coats mentioned whether or not they wanted to take “collective action” to converse out publicly towards Trump. Mattis says he finally resigned after Trump introduced he was withdrawing US troops from Syria, “when I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid.”

— Woodward writes that Coats and his prime workers members “examined the intelligence as carefully as possible,” and that Coats nonetheless questions the connection between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Coats saw how extraordinary it was for the president’s top intelligence official to harbor such deep suspicions about the president’s relationship with Putin. But he could not shake them.”

— Trump has come beneath hearth in current days for reportedly making disparaging remarks about US army personnel and veterans. Woodward’s book contains an anecdote the place an aide to Mattis heard Trump say in a gathering, “my f—ing generals are a bunch of pussies” as a result of they cared extra about alliances than commerce offers. Mattis requested the aide to doc the remark in an electronic mail to him. And Trump himself criticized army officers to Woodward over their view that alliances with NATO and South Korea are the most effective cut price the US makes. “I wouldn’t say they were stupid, because I would never say that about our military people,” Trump mentioned. “But if they said that, they — whoever said that was stupid. It’s a horrible bargain … they make so much money. Costs us $10 billion. We’re suckers.”

— Woodward reviews that Trump’s nationwide safety crew expressed considerations the US could have come shut to nuclear warfare with North Korea amid provocations in 2017. “We never knew whether it was real,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quoted as saying, “or whether it was a bluff.” But it was so critical that Mattis slept in his garments to be prepared in case there was a North Korean launch and repeatedly went to the Washington National Cathedral to pray.

— Trump boasted to Woodward a couple of new secret weapons system. “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before,” Trump mentioned. Woodward says different sources confirmed the data, with out offering additional particulars, however expressed shock that Trump disclosed it.

— Woodward obtained the 27 “love letters” Trump exchanged with Kim Jong Un, 25 of which haven’t been reported publicly. The letters, crammed with flowery language, present a captivating window into their relationship. Kim flatters Trump by repeatedly calling him “Your Excellency,” and writes in a single letter that assembly once more can be “reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film.” In one other, Kim writes that the “deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force.” CNN has obtained the transcripts of two of the letters.

— Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner additionally weighs in with some uncommon literary insights about his father-in-law. Kushner is quoted as saying that 4 texts are key to understanding Trump, together with “Alice in Wonderland.” Kushner paraphrased the Cheshire Cat: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”

— Woodward pressed Trump on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s function within the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Once once more, Trump dismissed the US intelligence evaluation and defends bin Salman: “He says very strongly that he didn’t do it.”

— Trump insulted his predecessors, saying Woodward made former President George W. Bush “look like a stupid moron, which he was.” Trump mentioned of former President Barack Obama: “I don’t think Obama’s smart … I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker.” He additionally tells Woodward that Kim Jong Un thought Obama was an “asshole.”

— Woodward mentioned the Black Lives Matter protests and instructed to the President that individuals like the 2 of them — “White, privileged” — want to work to perceive the anger and ache that Black individuals really feel within the US. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you,” Trump responded, repeating his outrageous speaking level that he is accomplished extra for the Black group than any president apart from Abraham Lincoln.

— Woodward reviews new particulars on Russia’s election meddling, writing that the NSA and CIA have categorized proof the Russians had positioned malware within the election registration programs of a minimum of two Florida counties, St. Lucie and Washington. While there was no proof the malware had been activated, Woodward writes, it was subtle and will erase voters in particular districts. The voting system vendor utilized by Florida was additionally utilized in states throughout the nation.

‘Dynamite behind the door’

“Rage” is a follow-up to Woodward’s 2018 bestselling book “Fear,” which portrayed a chaotic White House by which aides hid papers from Trump to shield the nation from what they seen as his most harmful impulses.

While Trump slammed “Fear,” he additionally complained that he did not converse to Woodward for the book, which resulted in his agreeing to intensive interviews for “Rage.”

However, on August 14, Trump preemptively attacked Woodward’s new book, tweeting, “The Bob Woodward book will be a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been.”

Throughout the book, Trump gives insights into his view of the presidency. He tells Woodward once you’re operating the nation, “There’s dynamite behind every door.”

After his 18 interviews, Woodward points a stark verdict: Trump is the “dynamite behind the door.” Woodward concludes his book with a declaration that “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

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