The Woodward Tapes
by Isabella Zollner
Bob Woodward did 18 interviews with Trump and in every single interview Trump gave his legal consent to let Woodward publish them. These 18 tapes were not completely released to the public but many news networks, like NPR or CNN, have released portions to the public. Woodward himself published a book, Rage, that discussed all 18 tapes and the effects of what Trump has confessed to.
For those who don’t know, Bob Woodward first caught the public eye in 1972 when he broke the Watergate scandal. Woodward had begun working at the Washington post only months prior to this breakthrough story. Ever since Woodward and the other man who helped him break the story, Carl Bernstein, have been high profile journalists. Now 38 years later, Woodward has broken another presidential scandal.
From December 2019 to July 2020 Woodward and Trump conducted interviews spanning a range of topics. The interviews were at some points as flippant as to discuss why Trump likes red ties. At other times, Woodward questioned Trump about the coronavirus and a new nuclear project that Trump was meant to keep a secret. CNN highlights some key points of the interviews here. Trump is said to have occasionally called Woodward unexpectedly and late at night to conduct an interview. This sporadic behavior is something most Americans have become accustomed to during Trump’s presidency. It is simply another facet of Donald Trump’s selfishness. But what we were not expecting is the blatant disregard for self preservation and the preservation of those in his cabinet.
During the Woodward tape interviews, Donald Trump admitted to various failures during his presidency. In fact, him allowing tapes like these to be made and legally published is a failure of his presidency, even if it will help the American people. At least Donald Trump was not in complete denial of the way these tapes would affect his presidency. Trump complains multiple times that Woodward is going to portray him in a bad light. President Trump says,
“It would be an honor to get a good book from you… You’re probably going to screw me. You know, because that’s the way it goes… And in the end you’ll probably write a lousy book. What can I say?”
One of the absolute worst things Trump admitted to during these tapes, something that’s really going to ‘screw him’, is his morbid understanding of the Coronavirus. If you’ve listened to or read any news articles recently you’ve probably heard all about this. Trump admits in a February interview that he knows how bad coronavirus is going to become. He says,
“This is deadly stuff. You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
Hypocritically, Trump claims in a Fox interview that Coronavirus shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than the common flu.
“We’ve never closed down the country for the flu.”
Trump explains away his blatant and deadly lies to the public by explaining that he is simply a ‘cheerleader’ for our country. Trump allowed thousands to die because of his lies and betrayals to the American people. And he clearly sees nothing wrong with his actions.
“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t like creating a panic… The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country. And I don’t want people to be frightened, I don’t want to create panic, as you say, and certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence, we want to show strength, we want to show strength as a nation, and that’s what I’ve done. And we’ve done very well.”
And, at least to me, this is the most disturbing part of the Woodward Rage tapes. Donald Trump has always been about selfishness. The fact that Trump allowed, or even wanted Woodward to publish tapes in which Trump admits, on camera, the terrible ways in which he has hurt the American people suggests something terrible. It suggests that Donald Trump sees nothing wrong with his actions.
If Donald Trump had seen even a glimmer of wrongdoings in his actions he would not have admitted to them. Let alone allowed Woodward to publish recordings of him admitting to his failings. In no universe would the Donald Trump we know willingly let anyone publicize him admitting to forcing American citizens to a terrifying, inconsistent, and perilous America. But he did. The only reason I can conceive is that Donald Trump sees nothing wrong with what he did.
Our president has twisted his reality so strongly that he is now under the impression that he truly is a great leader in terms of Coronavirus. It isn’t a show anymore. It isn’t a game of politics that Trump finds fun. It isn’t even for the approval anymore. Donald Trump is 100% sure that he is the best thing for America and he will fight as hard as he can to remain president.
About the Author:
After being subjected to homophobic harassment in the classroom, Isabella decided to try and use her writing to encourage others to stand up for each other and themselves. Isabella is a high school student in Lafayette, IN.