Ranking the Trump Revelations in Woodward’s “Rage”

Military secrets, love letters, and an unprecedented look at the Trump White House.

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Through some tasteful teases, we have learned a lot about what’s going to be in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book about President Trump. Woodward talked to Trump 18 times over the course of half a year. Here are some revelations we’ve learned, but many more will be coming in the following weeks.

1. Revealing the existence of a secret nuclear weapons system.

I’m not sure when is the correct time to discuss a new, secret nuclear weapons system. But I do know when it is the incorrect time. And an on-the-record, taped interview with the world’s most intrepid journalist is the incorrect time.

“I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There’s nobody — what we have is incredible,” Trump told Bob Woodward in one of his nearly two dozen taped interviews.

The Russian GRU was probably thrilled about this. Internet sleuths were quick to offer theories about what type of weapons system Trump was talking about. (The most comprehensive guess is that Trump was referring to the W76–2 low-yield nuclear warhead, which was probably deployed in late 2019.)

Trump confirmed the secret system to the press a few days ago.

2. Believing that Black people don’t feel pain.

At one point in their conversation, Woodward asks Trump about white privilege and the pain that African Americans are enduring. The journalist asks the president if he should try harder to “understand the anger and pain…(that) Black people feel in this country.”

Trump laughed off Woodward, accusing the journalist of really drinking “the Kool-Aid” and not sharing that belief at all. Trump is a committed member of the Anything-But-Race Movement.

Audio of Trump making these comments can be heard here.

3. Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un send many love letters to each other.

It is no secret that Trump and Kim fawn over each other, but the extent to which the two leaders communicate was never reported publicly. Woodward obtained 27 of these “love letters,” of which only two were previously public.

Kim refers to Trump as “Your Excellency,” and refers to their friendship as “a magical force.” In another letter, Kim refers to a future meeting between the two as “reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film.” It’s hard to read these letters and not sense the almost erotic nature of the words.

The transcripts of the letters can be viewed here.

4. Trump purposefully lied to the American public about the coronavirus.

Publicly, Trump was downplaying the threat of the virus, saying the mortality rate was low and Americans had nothing to worry about because “China had it under control.”

Privately, there’s a different story. Trump told Woodward that the virus spreads through the air and is very deadly. Trump once called it “the plague.”

“Bob, it’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it. I mean, you could be in the room…I was in the White House a couple of days ago, meeting with ten people in the Oval Office and a guy sneezed, innocently. Not a horrible — just a sneeze. The entire room bailed out, OK? Including me, by the way,” Trump said.

Most damningly, Trump told Woodward that he deliberately misled the American public about the dangers of the coronavirus. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

(The audio of Trump’s comments can be heard here.)

There are two main problems with Trump’s “panic” defense. First, Trump wasn’t worried about creating a panic with the American people, he was worried about creating a panic on Wall Street. Or his re-election chances.

Second, by saying he had to lie to the American people to not create a panic, he is essentially saying that we couldn’t handle the truth, that we were too immature or childlike to understand the gravity of the situation without inducing mass hysteria. If Trump had been very clear about the dangers of the coronavirus, it could have saved lives. Luckily, Trump thought for us.

5. The interviews themself.

Really? 18 on-the-record, taped interviews with perhaps the world’s most famous investigative journalist? Trump couldn’t have prevented Woodward from writing the book, but he did have the right not to to be interviewed by him.

You know the decision to speak to Woodward was particularly awful if even Fox News was critical of it. Sean Hannity told Trump that he would not have advised him to do that, and Tucker Carlson tried to shift the blame to…Lindsey Graham?

The book is sure to be an instant bestseller, and for good reason. Trump claimed to have read the 466-page book in one night, and I’m sure he’s telling the truth.

Written by

political science researcher. former valedictorian. reader/writer. host of “Politics Mostly” podcast.

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