During an exclusive interview with Bob Woodward Monday morning about his Trump-trashing book timed to impact the election, NBC’s Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie complained that the Washington Post journalist hadn’t come out months ago to attack the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. She even quoted a far-left radical writer to try to bolster her argument.
“The biggest revelation, by far, from this book is that the President told you way back on February 7th that this coronavirus was airborne, that it was five times more deadly than the flu,” Guthrie hyped as she helped sell the tell-all. However, she then lamented that Woodward’s attacks hadn’t come sooner: “As you well know, you’ve been criticized for not releasing that information until now.”
While the host briefly noted that Trump was among those critics, she then anonymously cited a “commentator on Twitter” to back up the concerns:
The President has criticized you, other commentators, one said on Twitter, “Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything substantial to keep the country informed.” So I’ll give you a chance to answer, why didn’t you publish this information until now?
In reality, that quote came from left-wing bomb-thrower and Esquire magazine writer Charles Pierce, who just days earlier wrote an article decrying: “Both of these men knew before anyone else that a potential disaster was not only possible, but increasingly likely. BOTH OF THESE MEN KNEW!”
Pierce was accurate about one thing, the reason Woodword didn’t report on his interviews with Trump months ago was because “he had a book to sell.”
Of course Woodward pretended financial (and political) considerations had nothing to do the timing of the revelations, telling Guthrie:
Because in February I thought it was all about China because the President had told me about a discussion with Chinese President Xi. And if you look at what was known in February, the virus was not on anyone’s mind, no one was suggesting changing behavior. Then when it exploded in March, as you know, there were 30,000 new cases a day. Publishing something at that point would not have been telling people anything they didn’t know. They knew very clearly that it was dangerous.
She pressed: “Why not publish it right then and there and let the chips fall?” Woodward replied: “No, but he’s talking – if there was any suggestion I had that that was about the United States, I would have of course published.”
Despite completely undercutting his entire premise that what Trump told him was somehow shocking, Woodward still insisted that he had a bombshell: “…the President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February for tens of years.”
Wrapping up the exchange, Guthrie urged Woodward to release more audio tapes to damage Trump in the weeks ahead: “Well, reporter to reporter….Are you going to release all of those audio tapes?” Woodward promised: “Well, I’m releasing the ones that are relevant as people ask for them. It’s quite an archive.”
In other words, whenever a member of the leftist press wants something to use to hammer the President, Woodward will put out another clip and get another interview.
Appearing on CBS’s 60 Minutes Sunday night, Woodward was treated to softballs about how objective he is, despite concluding his book by urging readers to vote Trump out of office.
Guthrie’s whining to Woodward was brought to viewers by Netflix and Progressive. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.
Here is a transcript of the September 14 segment:
7:32 AM ET
GEOFF BENNETT: Veteran journalist Bob Woodward offering a harsh critique of President Trump.
BOB WOODWARD [CBS, 60 MINUTES]: When there’s a crisis, when the President particularly knows something, it’s time to tell the public in some form. He failed.
BENNETT: That assessment based on 18 recorded interviews Woodward conducted with the President for his new book, Rage.
WOODWARD: One of the things that President Trump told me, “In the presidency, there’s always dynamite behind the door.” The real dynamite is President Trump. He is the dynamite.
BENNETT: The President told Woodward he deliberately downplayed coronavirus dangers.
DONALD TRUMP: I wanted to, I wanted to always play it down, I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.
7:33 AM ET
BENNETT: Critics say promoting fear has long been President Trump’s calling card on the campaign trail.
TRUMP: Don’t let them ruin the suburbs.
BENNETT: But the President tells Woodward he intentionally misled the American public about coronavirus dangers because he didn’t want to spark a panic.
7:34 AM ET
BENNETT: President Trump on defense, dismissing the book and its author for not coming forward earlier.
TRUMP: If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, then he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait four months.
BENNETT: Now Democrats have seized on the revelations in Bob Woodward’s book to make their case against President Trump’s leadership during the pandemic. Joe Biden says the audio tapes show President Trump failed to do his job on purpose. Biden calling it a life and death betrayal of the American people.
7:34 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The biggest revelation, by far, from this book is that the President told you way back on February 7th that this coronavirus was airborne, that it was five times more deadly than the flu. As you well know, you’ve been criticized for not releasing that information until now. The President has criticized you, other commentators, one said on Twitter, “Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything substantial to keep the country informed.” So I’ll give you a chance to answer, why didn’t you publish this information until now?
BOB WOODWARD: Because in February I thought it was all about China because the President had told me about a discussion with Chinese President Xi. And if you look at what was known in February, the virus was not on anyone’s mind, no one was suggesting changing behavior. Then when it exploded in March, as you know, there were 30,000 new cases a day. Publishing something at that point would not have been telling people anything they didn’t know. They knew very clearly that it was dangerous.
GUTHRIE: Well, let me just pick up on that. Because you know, understanding that hindsight is 2020 vision, and it may have taken time to put all the pieces together, one thing was abundantly clear. He tells you February 7th, “This is five times worse than the flu, it’s deadly, and it’s airborne.” And in the weeks following, he was saying things like “This is just a flu, it will just disappear.” So you knew right then and there, there was a contradiction between the public statement and what he had told you. Why not publish it right then and there and let the chips fall?
WOODWARD: No, but he’s talking – if there was any suggestion I had that that was about the United States, I would have of course published. I think I have a public health, public safety responsibility. But there was no indication in February. In March, everyone knew what Trump had told me, that it applied to the United States. The key here, Savannah, is that in May, three months later, I learned the key piece of evidence. That on January 28th, 10 days before that February call, the President was warned by his national security adviser in a top secret meeting that the virus is going to be, “The greatest national security threat to your presidency.” And then his deputy, Matt Pottinger, stepped up with details explaining that a pandemic was coming. So that’s why I begin the book with that January 28th meeting. Because that’s what the President is telling me about on February 7th, I think he’s talking about China.
7:40 AM ET
WOODWARD: A few days later he gave his State of the Union address to Congress, 40 million people watched it. He had an opportunity – he’s very kind of – not kind of – he said, “Well, we’re doing everything possible.” At that moment if, like, Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor, had told the American people the truth, a lot more could have been done. It is one of those shocks, for me, having written about nine presidents, that the President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February for tens of years.
GUTHRIE: Bob, let me – the book covers a lot of territory, foreign policy being one of them. And you have given us a piece of one of your nine hours of interviews with the President in which he talks about his relationships with some of these autocratic leaders, like Turkey’s Erdogan, Kim Jong-un, Putin. Let me play it for our viewers right now, and we’ll talk about it on the other side.
TRUMP: I get along very well with Erdogan, even though you’re not supposed to because everyone says, “What a horrible guy.” But, you know, for me it works out good. It’s funny, the relationships I can tell you the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You’ll explain that to me someday, okay? But maybe it’s not a bad thing. The easy ones are the ones I maybe don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much.
GUTHRIE: How did that strike you when you heard it, Bob? And I should mention that your book also reports that Dan Coats, the former Director of National Intelligence, Republican senator of Indiana, you report, came to believe that Putin had something on President Trump and suspected the worst.
WOODWARD: Yes, but Dan Coats, who was the number one intelligence officer in the country, did not have proof. They went through all the intelligence, but he indeed harbored that suspicion. But the tape you play about the President saying, “Look, I get along with all of these bad people, I don’t get along with the good ones. As you know, under the Constitution, the President controls foreign relations unilaterally. He decides and has decided, “Oh, I’m going to get along with Putin. I’m going to get along with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, MBS. And I’m going to try to get along with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.” But not South Korea, and he just smears South Korea time and time again in my interviews. He has – he is the face of the United States to the world.
GUTHRIE: Bob –
WOODWARD: And he has said – there it is, “Hey, look, I get along with these bad guys but not the good guys.”
7:44 AM ET
WOODWARD: What really struck me as I listened to some of these tapes and audios, is the microphone is also a microscope that you see things when you hear it. You – there is a tone, there is an exuberance, there is an alarm. And I love writing books and newspaper articles and the work I have done, but those audios are this – this – it’s not just a microscope, it’s really a magnifying glass.
GUTHRIE: Well, reporter to reporter, Bob, you’ve given me a final follow-up, it’s gotta be a quickie. Are you going to release all of those audio tapes?
WOODWARD: Well, I’m releasing the ones that are relevant as people ask for them. It’s quite an archive.