Trump claims he read Woodward’s Rage in one sitting – and found it ‘very boring’
Donald Trump has claimed to have read Rage, the new book about his administration by Bob Woodward, in one evening, and to have found it “very boring”.
The Watergate reporter’s tome, published on Tuesday, is 392 pages long not including index, acknowledgments and notes on sources which chiefly consist of 18 on-the-record conversations with the president.
Multiple reports have said Trump does not often read, whether books or briefing materials.
In Michael Wolff’s infamous book Fire and Fury, for example, the former economic adviser Gary Cohn is quoted as writing: “It’s worse than you can imagine … Trump won’t read anything – not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing.”
Some have said Trump cannot read. The president “didn’t process information in any conventional sense”, Wolff writes. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate.”
Nonetheless, the president claimed to have read Woodward’s new book in one evening in an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning, saying “it’s like lightweight reading and he doesn’t get it”.
Rage has caused huge controversy, not least over Trump telling Woodward he knew the danger the coronavirus presented early on but played it down in public.
Asked “why on earth would the president of United States, sit down and talk to Bob Woodward something like 18 times on tape” – the two men also spoke in August, a conversation which did not make the book – Trump said: “Well, because I assumed he was a little bit fair.”
Woodward did not speak to Trump for his first book on the administration, Fear, which was released in 2018. Trump said he regretted that, but added: “He only writes bad books and I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring.”
Trump referred to Woodward’s partner in the Watergate story, Carl Bernstein, when he said: “The Bernstein book was really boring, I have to tell you.”
Corrected by the Fox & Friends hosts, the president continued: “The Woodward book and Bernstein’s book, I read a Bernstein book, the guy can’t write, but Woodward’s book to me was very boring. It was very boring. It was inaccurate.
Asked about Bernstein’s recent remark that Trump’s handling of the pandemic, in which more than 190,000 have died in the US, makes him a “homicidal president”, Trump called the veteran reporter “a nutjob”.
He also attacked Woodward’s employer.
“The guy’s a Democrat,” he said, without providing evidence of Woodward’s political affiliation, which remains opaque. “[He] works with the Washington Post. I mean that tells you right there … you know all about the Washington Post, you don’t get a break with them. Look, you, you, if you want to remain sane just don’t read it because what they do is disgraceful.”