Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward characterized President Donald Trump as a “bulldozer” in an interview Tuesday and claimed there was widespread denial among White House staffers about the severity of COVID-19.
“I think there was denial across the board,” Woodward told the Post about White House aides and their knowledge of COVID-19. Woodward described Trump as “a one-man band” who is “going to do what he wants to do on impulse or on information he has.”
“He’s a bulldozer to the staff and, quite frankly, to the country,” Woodward continued. “And he just says what he wants, and so there’s no control. And this is one of the problems of the Trump presidency, that he doesn’t build a team. He doesn’t plan.”
Woodward conducted 17 on-the-record interviews with Trump in order to write his newly released book “Rage.” During one interview with Woodward in February, Trump admitted to downplaying COVID-19.
“I wanted to, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump told Woodward. The comments drew criticism from Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who alleged Trump of lying to the public about the virus.
In an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Trump said he read Woodward’s new book and called it “very boring.”
“I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring,” Trump told the news outlet. “But there was not much in that book.”
It’s unclear why Trump chose to do the interviews with Woodward. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said Trump wanted Woodward to like him.
“Trump loves brands, and Woodward has been the gold standard for 50 years of investigative journalism around the presidency, so it’s the same reason why he likes the Gray Lady, he likes The New York Times. It’s the paper of record traditionally in his hometown, so even though both excoriate him, he’s attracted to them the way a low-IQ small moth would be to a flame,” Scaramucci told Politico last week. “Trump is always convinced that if he talks to the person, he is going to elucidate and enlighten that person and get them to like him.”
Woodward began his career at the Washington Post in 1971 and garnered fame for his reporting on the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1972, leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Woodward has written 19 books on U.S. politics and the presidency. He previously wrote “Fear,” an account of the first two years of the Trump administration and “Obama’s Wars,” about the 44th president’s handling of foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.