Bob Woodward guide ‘Rage:’ Trump admits to concealing true menace of coronavirus

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“That is lethal stuff,” Trump advised Woodward on February 7.

In a sequence of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a stunning stage of element about the specter of the virus sooner than beforehand identified. “Fairly superb,” Trump advised Woodward, including that the coronavirus was perhaps 5 instances “extra lethal” than the flu.

'Dangerous' and 'unfit': Trump's former national security advisers say he has 'no moral compass' in new Woodward book

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

The guide, utilizing Trump’s personal phrases, depicts a President who has betrayed the general public belief and essentially the most basic tasks of his workplace. In “Rage,” Trump says the job of a president is “to maintain our nation protected.” However in early February, Trump advised Woodward he knew how lethal the virus was, and in March, admitted he saved that information hidden from the general public.

“I wished to at all times play it down,” Trump advised Woodward on March 19, at the same time as he had declared a nationwide emergency over the virus days earlier. “I nonetheless like enjoying it down, as a result of I do not need 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 palms, experts believe that hundreds of American lives might 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 among the audio tapes.

“Rage” additionally consists of brutal assessments of Trump’s presidency from lots of his former high nationwide safety officers, together with former Protection Secretary James Mattis, former Director of Nationwide Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mattis is quoted as calling Trump “harmful” and “unfit” to be commander in chief. Woodward writes that Coats “continued to harbor the key perception, one which had grown slightly than lessened, though unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had one thing on Trump.” Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, “How else to clarify the president’s habits? Coats might see no different clarification.”
In this White House photo from December 2019 provided by Bob Woodward, President Donald Trump is seen speaking to Woodward in the Oval Office, surrounded by some aides and advisers, as well as Vice President Mike Pence. On Trump's desk is a large picture of Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s high infectious illness knowledgeable, is quoted telling others Trump’s management was “rudderless” and that his “consideration span is sort of a minus quantity.”

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

‘The virus has nothing to do with me’

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

In a January 28 high secret intelligence briefing, nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien gave Trump a “jarring” warning in regards to the virus, telling the President it could be the “greatest nationwide safety menace” of his presidency. Trump’s head “popped up,” Woodward writes.

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

At the moment, there have been fewer than a dozen reported coronavirus instances within the US.

Three days later, Trump introduced restrictions on journey from China, a transfer steered by his nationwide safety crew — regardless of Trump’s later claims that he alone backed the journey limitations.
Nonetheless, 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 management clock” after he was advised this was a “once-in-a-lifetime well being emergency.”

“Presidents are the chief department. There was an obligation to warn. To pay attention, to plan, and to take care,” Woodward writes. However within the days following the January 28 briefing, Trump used high-profile appearances to attenuate the menace and, Woodward writes, “to reassure the general public they confronted little danger.”

Throughout a pre-Tremendous Bowl interview on Fox Information February 2, Trump stated, “We just about 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 needed steps to safeguard our residents from this menace.”

Requested by Woodward in Could if he remembered O’Brien’s January 28 warning that the virus could be the most important nationwide safety menace of his presidency, Trump equivocated. “No, I do not.” Trump stated. “I am positive if he stated it — you already know, I am positive he stated it. Good man.”

The guide highlights how the President took the entire credit score and not one of the duty for his actions associated to the pandemic, which has contaminated 6 million People and killed greater than 185,000 within the US.

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

‘It goes via 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 in regards to the trial. He was shocked, nonetheless, by the President’s deal with the virus. On the identical time that Trump and his public well being officers had been saying the virus was “low danger,” Trump divulged to Woodward that the evening earlier than he’d spoken to Chinese language President Xi Jinping in regards to the virus. Woodward quotes Trump as saying, “We have somewhat little bit of an attention-grabbing setback with the virus getting in China.”

“It goes via the air,” Trump stated. “That is at all times more durable than the contact. You do not have to the touch issues. Proper? However the air, you simply breathe the air and that is the way it’s handed. And in order that’s a really tough one. That is a really delicate one. It is also extra lethal than even your strenuous flus.”

However Trump spent many of the subsequent month saying that the virus was “very a lot underneath management” and that instances within the US would “disappear.” Trump stated on his journey to India on February 25 that it was “an issue that is going to go away,” and the following day he predicted the variety of US instances “inside a few days goes to be down to shut 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 menace to younger folks. “Simply in the present day and yesterday, some startling info got here out. It is not simply previous, older. Younger folks too, loads of younger folks,” Trump stated.

Publicly, nonetheless, Trump has continued to insist simply the other, saying as lately as August 5 that youngsters had been “almost immune.
Even into April, when the US grew to become the nation with essentially the most confirmed instances on the earth, Trump’s public statements contradicted his acknowledgements to Woodward. At an April 3 coronavirus process power briefing, Trump was still downplaying the virus and stating that it could go away. “I stated it is going away and it’s going away,” he stated. But two days afterward April 5, Trump once more advised Woodward, “It is a horrible factor. It is unbelievable,” and on April 13, he stated, “It is so simply transmissible, you would not even imagine it.”

‘Harmful’ and ‘unfit’

Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, carried out lots of of hours of confidential background interviews with firsthand witnesses for “Rage,” and he obtained “notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential paperwork,” together with greater than two dozen letters Trump exchanged with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un. Woodward is thought to report 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 individual, a colleague with direct information or paperwork.

Trump’s acutely aware downplaying of the coronavirus is certainly one of quite a few revelations in “Rage.” The guide is stuffed with anecdotes about high cupboard officers blindsided by tweets, pissed off with Trump’s incapacity to focus and scared about his subsequent coverage directive as a result of he refused to simply accept info or hearken to specialists:

— Mattis is quoted as saying Trump is “harmful,” “unfit,” has “no ethical compass” and took overseas coverage actions that confirmed adversaries “find out how to destroy America.” After Mattis left the administration, he and Coats mentioned whether or not they wanted to take “collective motion” to talk out publicly towards Trump. Mattis says he in the end resigned after Trump introduced he was withdrawing US troops from Syria, “once I was mainly directed to do one thing that I believed went past silly to felony silly.”

— Woodward writes that Coats and his high employees members “examined the intelligence as rigorously as attainable,” and that Coats nonetheless questions the connection between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Coats noticed how extraordinary it was for the president’s high intelligence official to harbor such deep suspicions in regards to the president’s relationship with Putin. However he couldn’t shake them.”

— Trump has come underneath fireplace in latest days for reportedly making disparaging remarks about US navy personnel and veterans. Woodward’s guide consists of 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 navy officers to Woodward over their view that alliances with NATO and South Korea are one of the best discount the US makes. “I would not say they had been silly, as a result of I’d by no means say that about our navy folks,” Trump stated. “But when they stated that, they — whoever stated that was silly. It is a horrible discount … they make a lot cash. Prices us $10 billion. We’re suckers.”

— Woodward stories that Trump’s nationwide safety crew expressed issues the US could have come near nuclear conflict with North Korea amid provocations in 2017. “We by no means knew whether or not it was actual,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quoted as saying, “or whether or not it was a bluff.” However 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 Nationwide Cathedral to hope.

— Trump boasted to Woodward a few new secret weapons system. “I’ve constructed a nuclear — a weapons system that no person’s ever had on this nation earlier than,” Trump stated. 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, stuffed with flowery language, present an interesting window into their relationship. Kim flatters Trump by repeatedly calling him “Your Excellency,” and writes in a single letter that assembly once more could be “paying homage to a scene from a fantasy movie.” In one other, Kim writes that the “deep and particular friendship between us will work as a magical power.” CNN has obtained the transcripts of two of the letters.

— Trump’s son-in-law and senior White Home 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 do not know the place you are going, any path will get you there.”

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

— Trump insulted his predecessors, saying Woodward made former President George W. Bush “appear to be a silly moron, which he was.” Trump stated of former President Barack Obama: “I do not suppose Obama’s sensible … I feel he is extremely overrated. And I do not suppose he is an amazing speaker.” He additionally tells Woodward that Kim Jong Un thought Obama was an “asshole.”

— Woodward mentioned the Black Lives Matter protests and steered to the President that individuals like the 2 of them — “White, privileged” — must work to grasp the anger and ache that Black folks really feel within the US. “You actually drank the Kool-Support, did not you? Simply hearken to you,” Trump responded, repeating his outrageous speaking level that he is finished extra for the Black group than any president moreover Abraham Lincoln.

— Woodward stories new particulars on Russia’s election meddling, writing that the NSA and CIA have categorised proof the Russians had positioned malware within the election registration methods of not less than two Florida counties, St. Lucie and Washington. Whereas 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 guide “Worry,” which portrayed a chaotic White Home by which aides hid papers from Trump to guard the nation from what they seen as his most harmful impulses.

Whereas Trump slammed “Worry,” he additionally complained that he did not converse to Woodward for the guide, which resulted in his agreeing to in depth interviews for “Rage.”

Nevertheless, on August 14, Trump preemptively attacked Woodward’s new guide, tweeting, “The Bob Woodward guide shall be a FAKE, as at all times, simply as lots of the others have been.”

All through the guide, Trump supplies insights into his view of the presidency. He tells Woodward whenever you’re working the nation, “There’s dynamite behind each door.”

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

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