The revelations of Bob Woodward’s latest book have already been cause for major discussion and controversy across the media. Rage, the legendary reporter’s 20th book, was officially released yesterday but early previews revealed that, among the pages, was a taped interview between Woodward and President Donald Trump where the president admitted to downplaying the dangers of COVID-19 despite knowing otherwise in the earliest days of the pandemic.
While the public is just getting their hands on the book and media continues to parse the various anecdotes, interviews, and files throughout, President Trump himself has said it’s “another political hit job.” In the face of renewed and widespread criticism of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, various White House aides and Republican officials have gone on the defensive to push back against the narrative that the president purposely misled the public.
Below is a synopsis of Rage from publisher Simon and Schuster:
Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, is an unprecedented and intimate tour de force of new reporting on the Trump presidency facing a global pandemic, economic disaster and racial unrest.
Woodward, the #1 international bestselling author of Fear: Trump in the White House, has uncovered the precise moment the president was warned that the Covid-19 epidemic would be the biggest national security threat to his presidency. In dramatic detail, Woodward takes readers into the Oval Office as Trump’s head pops up when he is told in January 2020 that the pandemic could reach the scale of the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed 675,000 Americans.
In 17 on-the-record interviews with Woodward over seven volatile months—an utterly vivid window into Trump’s mind—the president provides a self-portrait that is part denial and part combative interchange mixed with surprising moments of doubt as he glimpses the perils in the presidency and what he calls the “dynamite behind every door.”
At key decision points, Rage shows how Trump’s responses to the crises of 2020 were rooted in the instincts, habits and style he developed during his first three years as president.
Revisiting the earliest days of the Trump presidency, Rage reveals how Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats struggled to keep the country safe as the president dismantled any semblance of collegial national security decision making.
Rage draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand witnesses as well as participants’ notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential documents.
Woodward obtained 25 never-seen personal letters exchanged between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a “fantasy film.”
Trump insists to Woodward he will triumph over Covid-19 and the economic calamity. “Don’t worry about it, Bob. Okay?” Trump told the author in July. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll get to do another book. You’ll find I was right.”
Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wished he’d recruited Bob Woodward into the CIA. A journalistic icon who gained international attention when he and Carl Bernstein broke the deeply disturbing news of the Watergate scandal, today Woodward continues to pull back the curtain on Washington and its leaders to captivate audiences with stories that are sometimes surprising, at times shocking, and always fascinating.