Trump said that he agreed to 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward because he assumed the journalist would be “a little bit fair” in his reporting. However, the commander-in-chief described the bombshell as “very boring.”
“I actually got to read [Rage] last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring. But there was not much in that book.”
In Rage, Woodward revealed that Trump was aware of the dangers the novel coronavirus posed early on, but refused to warn the public and take action.
Excerpts and audio recordings of the conversations between the two men were released last week. During one of the interviews — at a time when he was publicly saying the virus would disappear on its own — Trump told Woodward that COVID-19 is “deadly stuff.”
He also described the virus as worse than the seasonal flu, even though, at the time, he was publicly comparing the situation to an influenza outbreak.
The president conceded that Woodward’s reporting is accurate, but defended his initial statements about COVID-19 — which has now killed nearly 200,000 Americans — claiming he did not want to spread fear and panic.
“People say, you should have gone out there and… jumped up and down, ‘you’re going to die, you’re going to die.’ No, I don’t want to do that,” he said.
Trump argued that the United States is bringing the pandemic under control, pointing to declining cases in states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona.
“I’ll say it now, we’re rounding the turn on the pandemic. we’re rounding the turn,” he stressed.
The commander-in-chief also predicted that America would have a vaccine for COVID-19 “in a matter of weeks,” pushing back against suggestions that he is putting pressure on health officials to develop a vaccine before the upcoming election in order to boost his chances of winning a second term in the White House.
As The Hill noted, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has warned that the U.S. is not rounding the “final turn” on the pandemic.
In an ABC News-Ipsos poll released last week, 65 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, while 35 percent stated they approved of how he has handled the issue.