President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE on Wednesday defended his decision to speak extensively with journalist Bob Woodward for his forthcoming book but added that he "almost definitely" won't read the final product.
The president appeared on Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityRittenhouse says he's destroying gun used in fatal Kenosha shootings Dr. Oz expected to run for Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican: reports Vigilantes are not patriots MORE's show on Fox News following a day of difficult headlines after the first excerpts of Woodward's new book, "Rage," were published. After Hannity noted he was unsure what good could come from cooperating with Woodward, Trump explained his rationale for doing hours of interviews.
"He called. I didn’t participate in his last one, and he does hit jobs with everybody," Trump said. "He even did it on Obama. ... So I figured, you know, let’s just give it a little shot. I’ll speak to him. Wasn’t a big deal."
"I don’t know if the book is good or bad. I have no idea," Trump continued. "Probably — almost definitely won’t read it because I don’t have time to read it. But I gave it a little bit of a shot. Sounds like it’s not going to be good."
The president went on to reiterate his defense of his comments to Woodward in which he privately acknowledged that COVID-19 was "deadly" in early February and later told the author he intentionally minimized its seriousness in public to avoid causing panic.
Critics have seized on recordings of Trump's comments to Woodward to argue that he intentionally misled the public about the severity of the coronavirus.
The president and his allies spent the day arguing that he wanted to publicly project calm so as to not spook Americans. While Trump was privately acknowledging to Woodward the risk of COVID-19 in early February, he spent the next several weeks comparing it to the seasonal flu and insisting it would dissipate in April when the weather warmed.
The U.S. has the highest number of reported coronavirus infections and deaths of any country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"Rage" is Woodward's second book about the Trump White House. The president did not participate in the author's 2018 book, "Fear."