Trump’s COVID-19 comments in the released audio of his interview with Bob Woodward has attracted major attention, however, the book features many more hot button topics.
Woodward conducted 18 interviews with President Trump between December and July.
(Excerpts from the book were reported by The Washington Post, where Woodward is an editor and CNN):
President Trump was very complimentary of the North Korea leader. Trump first met Kim in Singapore in 2018 and Woodward wrote that Trump noted that Kim was “far beyond smart.” Trump also said that Kim “tells me everything” and even gave the president a graphic account of how Kim had his own uncle killed. In regards to North Korea’s nuclear program and intelligence officials’ assessments that North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons, Trump told Woodward that the CIA has “no idea” how to handle North Korea.
In regards to the criticism he faced for meeting with the North Korean leader the President told Woodward “It takes me two days. I met him. I gave up nothing,” said the president, who compared North Korea’s attachment to its nuclear arsenal to somebody who is in love with a house and “they just can’t sell it.”
President Trump also spoke to his relationship with Kim, how Kim referred to him as “your excellency” in a letter. Kim wrote to Trump that he believed the “deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force.”
Speaking with Woodward, President Trump continued to say he was for “law and order” and adding “We’re going to get ready to send in the military slash National Guard to some of these poor bastards that don’t know what they’re doing, these poor radical lefts,” Trump told Woodward, who recorded Trump.
In a separate interview, Woodward asked the President if he felt, as a white man, responsibility to better “understand the anger and pain” felt by Black Americans.
President Trump concisely replied, “No, I don’t feel that at all”.
However, unlike AG Barr that did not think two justice systems existed, when Woodward asked President Trump about systematic racism in America, the President responded “Well, I think there is everywhere,” Trump said. “I think probably less here than most places. Or less here than many places.”
Asked by Woodward whether racism “is here” in the United States Trump replied: “I think it is. And it’s unfortunate. But I think it is.”
One of the odd and intriguing comments was the President’s insinuation of a mystery weapon.
In a brief moment, Trump departed from only speaking in pleasantries regarding North Korea, and noted why he was not concerned about the rising tensions in 2017 between the U.S. and North Korea, Trump said: “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about. We have stuff that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and (Chinese President Jinping) Xi have never heard about before. There’s nobody — what we have is incredible.”
Woodward writes that sources, who spoke to him on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the U.S. military had a “secret new weapons system.”
FORMER TOP OFFICIALS IN TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
Woodward also received quotes from current and former top officials in the administration. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is quoted saying, “The most dangerous people around the president are overconfident idiots.”
Kushner also made a curious comparison saying he advised people to think about “Alice in Wonderland” when trying to understand the Trump presidency. The novel is about a girl who falls through a rabbit hole and Kushner, according to Woodward, singled out the Cheshire Cat, whom he said had endurance and persistence, not direction.
Then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to Woodward’s book, Mattis once told then-National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, “There may come a time when we have to take collective action” because Trump is “dangerous” and “unfit” to be president. Mattis also added, “The president has no moral compass.”
According to Woodward Coats replied to Mattis “True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”
Rage – by Bob Woodward will be released on September 15, 2020.