Donald Trump was incapable of ‘rising to the occasion’ of the coronavirus pandemic, Bob Woodward has said – describing the president as ‘dynamite’ which was ready to detonate at any minute with catastrophic consequences.
Woodward, whose book Rage has painted a remarkably damning portrait of a president, spoke on Sunday night to 60 Minutes.
The veteran Watergate reporter, who has interviewed every currently living president during their time in the Oval Office, was asked why in this, his 20th book, he decided to break with his own tradition and pass judgement on the president.
Woodward wrote that Trump is ‘the wrong man for the job’.
Bob Woodward appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening to discuss his book, Rage
Woodward spoke to Scott Pelley to discuss his 20th book, based on 18 interviews with Trump
‘It’s a conclusion based on evidence, overwhelming evidence, that he could not rise to the occasion with the virus and tell the truth,’ Woodward responded.
‘And one of the things that President Trump told me: ‘In the presidency, there’s always dynamite behind the door.’
Bob Woodward’s new book ‘Rage’ comes out September 15
‘The real dynamite is President Trump. He is the dynamite.’
Woodward, 77, was asked about accusations that he should have done more to publicize the real threat posed by the pandemic.
Trump knew on February 7, Woodward writes, that the coronavirus virus was ‘deadly’ and airborne, and that it was worse than the flu.
Yet Trump downplayed the severity and the threat of the virus throughout the month, and even compared it to the seasonal flu.
Woodward told 60 Minutes that he did not feel he could make his concerns public, as he didn’t know whether the president was correct about the virus being so harmful.
He also told of his bemusement when, during his final interview of 18, on August 14, Trump insisted that there was nothing more he could have done to stop the spread of COVID-19.
‘Nothing more could have been done. Nothing more could have been done,’ Trump said, in the taped conversation.
Woodward said Trump was ‘dynamite’, potentially causing chaos at any moment
The 77-year-old reporter said Trump’s remarks about COVID ‘almost took my breath away’
Woodward told 60 Minutes the president’s self-confidence ‘almost took my breath away’.
‘Nothing more could have been done. Does he remember what he told me, back in February, about, it’s more deadly than the flu?’ Woodward said.
‘I mean it almost took my breath away, that there was such certainty, when he was absolutely wrong about the issue that defines the position of this country right now.’