Sunday, October 23, 2022

Bob Woodward on revelations from "The Trump Tapes"

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Journalist Bob Woodward has become the author of record about the modern American presidency. Now Woodward's releasing an audio book allowing us to listen in on former president Donald Trump in his own words. Woodward tells our John Dickerson all about it. 
For nine months back in 2020 when the phone rang at Bob Woodward's home on this leafy Georgetown Street there was a good chance it was a call he didn't want to miss . The Woodward the President. Hi Bob President Trump how are you?
Sometimes Woodward's wife journalist Elsa Walsh answered the calls which came day or night so we joke and I sort of say there's like Princess Diana that there were three people in this marriage Bob me and Donald Trump and it was sort of never-ending the phone would ring is it a robo call or is it Trump?
Mr President you are connected, Hi Bob. Sir how are you? Woodward scattered tape recorders around the house to be ready for the surprise calls, I'm turning my recorder on here as I always do and Donald Trump would talk. 
I respect Putin I think Putin likes me I think I like him and talk I said to the King. "King you gotta pay us for protection" On the pandemic North Korea, Russia race relations just about anything. 
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I bring Rage out, I do bring Rage out. I always have I don't know if that's an asset or a liability but whatever it is I do. There were 16 phone calls 20 interviews all told eight hours of conversations which Woodward has compiled into an audiobook the Trump tapes out this week published by Simon & Schuster part of our parent company Paramount Global. 
In many ways it's the missing piece of the Trump story. We've heard a lot of Trump he said a lot but what did he do in the presidency and having the time I could go back and ask questions again and again. Woodward has written about the calls but hearing Trump in his own voice he believes is enlightening. I reported on this in the book I did rage but I then went back and listened to these tapes and said my God there is a whole new Trump that emerges. We got along great we've always got along great. His tone of voice offers insight into why Trump may have kept totems from his presidency at Mar-A-Lago. 
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Like the letters from North Korea's Kim Jong-un it's clearly a relationship he cherishes you meet somebody and you have a good chemistry and there is a lot of truth to it . You meet a woman in one second you know whether or not it's all going to happen. Okay, we had a very good chemistry together the topics Veer from the humorous I said did you ever hear of the song Rocket Man he said no no did you ever hear of Elton John no no I said I did you a great favor I called you Rocket Man. 
Yes you called me Little Rocket Man to the deadly serious if you've given Kim too much power? No because if he stepped by him if he shoots one of those that doesn't let me tell you whether I gave it to him or not if he shoots he shoots and if he shoots he shoots. He says about the North Korean leader if he shoots he shoots how did you react to that? I really froze because Trump said it in a way of if he shoots him you know kind of cavalier and of course it would be Unthinkable. One theme runs throughout all eight hours of tape. 
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Trump thought the presidency was a one-man show. I get people. They come up with ideas. But the ideas are mine, Bob. The ideas are mine. Want to know something? Everything is mine! But a presidency based on personality was overmatched by COVID 19. One of the most stunning moments I've had 50 years in reporting Woodward learned that on January 28 2020 just days after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States. Trump's National Security adviser Robert O'Brien had given him a grave warning I hope the exact phrase I used was "This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency."
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I was pretty passionate about it. Yet at a rally two weeks later Trump said this looks like by April you know in theory when it gets a little warmer and miraculously goes away I hope that's true. When Woodward learned about that disconnect between what the president knew and what he said, he asked Trump why he didn't sound the alarm? I wanted to where you said to yourself. "Ah this is the leadership test of a lifetime." No! 
When you hear this voice and the way he assesses situations in himself he's drowning in himself and at one point we're interviewing him and I just offered the commentary. I feel like I'm talking to a drowning man when he's talking about the virus and he says we've got it under control. Taken as a whole, the recordings paint a revealing self-portrait is it that he thinks of the presidency as a possession? 
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Yes, I think he does. I think it's as it's a trophy and he has got it and he is going to hold it which leads to one of Woodward's biggest regrets, the question he didn't ask there was one point where I asked him I said I hear that if you lose you're not going to leave the White House everyone says Trump is going to stay in the White House if it's contested have you well I'm not I don't even comment on that Sir. I don't want to comment at this time hey Bob I got I'll talk to you later on tonight it's the only time he had no comment and this of course was months before his loss and kind of slapped myself a little bit why didn't I follow up on that a little bit more at the end of the book Rage. 

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You said that Donald Trump was singularly unfit to be president and now listening to these tapes you draw a more grave conclusion. What is that conclusion Trump was the wrong man for the job I realize now two years later all of the January 6th Insurrection leads me to the conclusion that he's not just the wrong man for the job but he's dangerous and he is a threat to democracy and he's a threat to the presidency because he doesn't understand the core obligations that come with that office.


So the question Is: What is Merrick Garland waiting For.? I see no reason to wait until after the midterm elections, in Fact the sooner he is Indicted, could also have an enormous effect on voting in said midterms. What's your Take.?


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