In the transcript of a conversation between reporter Bob Woodward and President Donald Trump reported by the Washington Post, Trump both tells Woodward that he has faith in his reporting and calls Woodward’s forthcoming White House memoir “inaccurate,” all in the course of an 11-minute phone call—and without having read the book.
Most of the transcript reveals a boggling back and forth between Woodward and Trump (with a guest appearance by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway) about Woodward’s many unsuccessful attempts to interview Trump for the book, called “Fear.”
Woodward says he tried six or seven Trump aides and allies to establish contact, including Conway, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Trump insisted that he had never heard from anyone about it—even as he admits that he did hear from Graham, but that it was only “quickly in one meeting.”
Conway pops in, says she passed the message along (but does not say who she passed it to) and hops off the line again, laughing that Woodward should tell Trump all the people he tried to contact, presumably to get them in trouble.
Trump, meanwhile, continuously repeats that he never got an interview request, and his tried-and-true claim that the economy is the best it’s ever been under his administration.
Perhaps most notably, Trump’s opinion of Woodward’s reporting completely shifts throughout the course of the phone call, despite that fact that Trump had not read any of the newly-completed manuscript when the conversation took place.
“You know I’m very open to you. You’ve always been fair,” said Trump at the beginning of the call.
By the end of the call, Trump had changed his tune: “So we’re going to have a very inaccurate book, and that’s too bad. But I don’t blame you entirely.”
Observers expect Trump to take the latter approach to the book as it nears publication and outlets leak excerpts from advance copies, as it paints a vivid picture of a dysfunctional White House with an ignorant and foul-mouthed President at the helm.