President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Russian jets identified in Trump campaign ad calling for support for the troops Democratic Senate candidate ‘hesitant’ to get COVID-19 vaccine if approved this year MORE on Tuesday claimed he read Bob Woodward’s new book “very quickly” after previously predicting he wouldn’t do so, criticizing the bombshell as a “very boring” work with little substance.
Trump’s comments on “Fox & Friends” represented his latest effort to push back on the revelations from Woodward’s book that the president deliberately downplayed the threat of the coronavirus earlier this year.
Trump defended his decision to sit for 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward for “Rage,” saying he assumed the veteran Washington Post journalist “was a little bit fair” and noted he did not agree to interviews with Woodward for his previous book about the White House in 2018.
“I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring,” Trump said in the phone interview. “But there was not much in that book.”
Asked if the book, released Tuesday, was accurate, Trump said it was “fine” and reiterated his defense that he didn’t want to incite “panic” over the coronavirus, which has now killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
“It’s OK, I mean it’s fine. I don’t want to create panic,” Trump said. “People say, you should have gone out there and … jumped up and down, ‘You’re going to die, you’re going to die.’ No, I don’t want to do that.”
“I’ll say it now, we’re rounding the turn on the pandemic. we’re rounding the turn,” Trump insisted while citing declining coronavirus cases in states like Arizona, Florida and Texas.
Last week, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Top HHS official accuses scientists of plotting against Trump | House Democrats launch investigation of political interference in CDC science publications | Trump administration seeks to extend Mexico City policy on abortion Trump says he’s not worried about contracting coronavirus at rallies Woodward: Restricting travel from China wasn’t Trump’s idea MORE, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he disagreed with Trump’s comments that the United States is rounding the “final turn” on the virus.
Trump also predicted that the U.S. would have a vaccine for the coronavirus “in a matter of weeks,” while denying criticism that he is putting pressure on officials to secure a vaccine before the November presidential election.
The release of excerpts and recordings from Woodward’s reporting for “Rage” created a firestorm last week.
Trump is heard telling Woodward that the coronavirus is “deadly stuff” and worse than the flu in February, at a time when he was publicly downplaying the virus by predicting it would disappear and comparing it to the seasonal flu. Trump also told Woodward in March that he “wanted to always play it down,” referring to the coronavirus.
Speaking to Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannitySean Hannity and Lou Dobbs to be deposed in Seth Rich lawsuit: report Michigan lieutenant governor blasts Trump coronavirus response: He ‘is a liar who has killed people’ NYC living statue shows Trump desecrating graves of war dead, COVID-19 victims MORE last week, Trump dismissed Woodward as someone who writes “hit jobs” and said he “almost definitely” would not read his latest book.
Trump on Tuesday called Woodward’s book “lightweight reading” and “inaccurate,” dismissing the journalist as a “Democrat” and attacking the Washington Post, a frequent target of his.