Washington Post editor Bob Woodward said that President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE is a “bulldozer” who ignores guidance from White House aides.
“I think there was denial across the board,” Woodward told the Post on Tuesday.
Trump gave 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward for the journalist’s new book, titled “Rage,” his second on Trump’s presidency. Recordings and excerpts of Woodward’s interviews with Trump were released last week.
Among dozens of revelations in Woodward’s reporting, Trump privately acknowledged to the journalist in early February that COVID-19 was “deadly,” even as he publicly dismissed concerns about the novel coronavirus around the same time.
“He’s a bulldozer to the staff and, quite frankly, to the country,” Woodward told the Post, where he works as an associate editor. “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.”
The president has often touted his decision to cut off travel to China early in the pandemic, though Woodward said that decision was suggested by other administration officials, not Trump.
“My reporting shows that it was the doctors and the national security team that told the president that he needed to do this, and he okayed it,” Woodward said. “And if this was such a big deal, he would have gone out and announced it. Instead, he sent the secretary of health and human services, [Alex] Azar, to announce it.”
Trump claimed Tuesday that he read Woodward’s book “very quickly” and found it to be “boring.”
When asked if the claims in the book were accurate, Trump said they were “fine” and doubled down on his previous defense of his decision to downplay the virus, claiming he did not want to incite panic.