Woodward on Trump’s Coronavirus Handling: I’m ‘Embarrassed for Him’

Bob Woodward spoke to CNN president Jeff Zucker about his book, “Rage,” during the Citizen by CNN conference Tuesday morning

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Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said Tuesday he’s “embarrassed for” President Donald Trump after reporting on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus for his recent tell-all, “Rage.”

In conversation with CNN president Jeff Zucker, Woodward reacted to Trump’s Monday proclamation that the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody.” That contradicts what the president told Woodward in February and March of this year, when he said the virus was “deadly” but he was downplaying it to the public. As of Tuesday, there have been 6.8+ million COVID-19 cases and 200,000 deaths in the United States.

“The visitation of the medical nightmare on the American population is staggering, stunning. It’s on his head and he did not do enough,” said Woodward, who repeatedly pointed out he’s covered nine presidents in his career. “When you do work in a large institution — and the presidency is the largest one — you have to build a team and he’s failed to build a team. He harasses people, he attacks people who work for him — this impulse decision making — I’ve never seen anything like it in the presidency or any other institution where it’s this one-man band and he’s gonna say and do exactly what he wants, often giving no warning to his closest aides.”

Zucker asked about Trump saying he’d give himself a grade of an A+ for his handling of the coronavirus.

“I mean I’m quite frankly embarrassed for him, that he would say that because all Americans know that 200,000 people are killed,” said Woodward, referencing the most recent coronavirus death toll.

During the rest of the conversation at this year’s Citizen by CNN conference — held virtually, of course — Woodward mused that Trump’s only goal is re-election and he is unlike any president America has ever had, then concluded that historians will one day look back on this administration and ask, “What the ‘F’ happened to America?”


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