A long walk yesterday and another today gave me lots of time to listen to Rage by Bob Woodward. I have finished listening to the book, and I’m left almost speechless, searching for meaningful and hopeful words to say.
The work represents the best in investigative journalism. The details come from recorded interviews with the president, and countless documents provided by former and current members of the administration. The question I stated when I began reading was one of incredulity that Trump willingly gave Woodward the amount of time and candid response to the questions raised during the process. As I finished the book, it became clear that for Trump, it’s a win win situation. If the book shows him favorably, he will bask in the light; if it’s an “unfair” representation, he’ll simply claim to be mistreated by the leftist media, and his followers will have more ammunition for their verbal assaults against the Democrats leading to the coming election.
Most of the second half of the book deals with Woodward’s interviews with Trump since January of this year. It chronicles the beginning of knowledge of Covid 19 and Trump’s reactions to the virus, or perhaps more accurately, his lack of reaction to the virus. Overall, it is a very sad picture punctuated by the more than 200,00 deaths in this country to date. And the saddest thing to me was that Trump personally demonstrated no empathy for that fact. In none of the recorded interviews did he ever express any feelings at all about the death of 1000 people a day.
The only real concern expressed by Trump and the people around him, was that the virus might cost him reelection. The push for doing anything has been so the people will see that he cares, so his numbers in the polls will rise, so he can have a second term in office. Only secondarily is there a need to take care of the sick, prevent others from getting sick, and provide enough economic support for the unemployed and businesses struggling through the pandemic.
Woodward does not present a very bright portrait of our president. However, he is honest in his assessment, and there are moments when he’s almost kind in his treatment. But in the end, looking at the entirety of Trump’s presidency, Woodward concludes that Trump is the wrong man for the job.
I second that notion.