Trump Blabbed To Woodward For Months Because He Thought He’d Get Good PR

President Donald Trump announces his list of potential Supreme Court nominees in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on September 9, 2020. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s stunningly candid interviews with Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, which have raised a major scandal over Trump’s deliberate downplaying of COVID-19, stemmed from the President’s belief that he could get the journalist to give him good PR.

CNN reported on Wednesday night that Trump was dead set on granting interviews with Woodward, who was working on a book about Trump titled “Rage,” to boost his image, with the President reportedly relying on his experience as a salesman to present himself in a positive light.

White House aides “repeatedly” warned Trump against speaking to the dogged reporter, a source told CNN, but as usual, the President ignored their advice and acted on his own instincts instead.

Senior staffers were also reportedly worried about the level of personal access Trump had afforded Woodward, which included phone calls where the President’s advisers were not present.

One official told CNN that the direct calls between the two men “without us knowing were made all the time.”

Thus White House aides were blindsided on Wednesday when excerpts and audio clips of Woodward’s interviews with Trump were published, revealing that Trump was well aware back in February of how serious COVID-19 was even as he persistently told the country that it was less serious than the flu. In one especially damning excerpt, the President admitted to Woodward in mid-March that he “wanted to always play [the pandemic] down.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: