Bob Woodward on Tuesday revealed how President Trump was surprised there was public outrage over his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, suggesting his other only option would’ve been to sit at home reading a book.
During audio played from one of 18 recordings for interviews related to Woodward’s new book Rage, Trump boasted as he shows the legendary journalist how ‘happy’ the North Korean dictator was at one of their several meetings.
However when probed over the reaction stemming from Trump the first American leader to agree to talks with Jong-Un, the president sounded irritated.
‘What the f***k? It’s a meeting,’ the 73-year-old leader hit back at Woodward, 77, on December 5, 2019.
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Trump told Woodward on December 5, 2019 about the shocked reaction to his meeting with Kim Jong-Un: ‘What the f***k? It’s a meeting.’ Audio was played on Anderson Cooper 360
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019
The explosion came after Trump began by telling Woodward how Jong-Un ‘is very smart.’
‘You take over a country and you’re 25 years old and you survive… You’ve got millions of people who are all smart as hell and energetic,’ he added about Jong-Un’s country. ‘You know the energy is incredible.’
Woodward interjected to say ‘they show you those reports about those camps in North Korea’ to which Trump responded, ‘Oh.’
The journalist went on to recall how President Bush said he ‘loathed’ Jong-Un’s father Kim Jong-Il ‘because of what he’s doing to his people.’
However Trump responded: ‘And you know what? That attitude got him nothing.’
The president went on: ‘They built a huge nuclear force during those last two administrations. They haven’t done it during me.’
Trump continued that for ‘three years I gave nothing.’
‘You know they’d say, ‘President Trump he agreed to meet… What the f**k? It’s a meeting,’ he added. ‘He agreed to meet? What instead of staying home reading your book? I met?’
During Anderson Cooper 360 on Tuesday, the host suggested Trump was a hypocrite for saying in a March 19, 2020 recording that he ‘doesn’t have that much time’ to think about the ‘many people’ who have called him a ‘wartime president’ because he’s ‘busy as hell.’
President Trump showed Woodward pictures of them meeting during the interview
Trump (R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018
Comparing it to an interview where Trump failed to come up with one Bible passage he liked, despite claiming it was his ‘favorite book,’ Cooper also pointed out that just recently he said in a briefing that he spent all day and night watching Fox News coverage about himself and Woodward’s book.
In the same interview from six months ago Woodward asked Trump: ‘Was there a moment in all of this, last two months, where you said to yourself — you know, you’re waking up or whatever you’re doing and you say, ‘Ah, this is the leadership test of a lifetime?’ ‘
Trump responded: ‘No.’
‘I think it might be, but I don’t think that,’ Trump said. ‘All I want to do is get it solved. There are many people that said that to me. They said, you’re now a wartime President.’
On March 19, 265 Americans had been killed by COVID-19 and to date 195,000 lives have been lost while 6.6 million have been confirmed infected.
In that interview he admitted he knew it was ‘not just old people’ who are at risk.
In a February 4 interview Trump told Woodward coronavirus was ‘deadly stuff’ but failed to mention it at the State of the Union address three days earlier.
Among his interviews with Woodward Trump spoke about the dangers of the global virus and admitted he was playing it down to the American public after on January 28 national security adviser Robert O’Brien called coronavirus the ‘biggest national security threat.’
Wood shared audio of how Trump complained critics would say: ‘He agreed to meet? What instead of staying home reading your book? I met?’
When Woodward told Trump ‘they show you those reports about those camps in North Korea’ Trump responded, ‘Oh’
‘This is the moment a leader would say, “I got a warning: Trouble is coming. There are things we can do,” ‘ Woodward told CNN about the February 4 event. The first reported American death from COVID-19 was on February 29.
‘But then he goes on and says, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to tell the truth because I would panic people.’ That’s not what people in this country do when they’re told the truth.’
The men had a 19th interview on August 14, a day where 1,300 Americans died and 168,000 were dead in total.
However Trump still denied any responsibility whatsoever.
‘Nothing more could have been done,’ he said when Woodward suggested the election was a battle between Trump, Joe Biden, and the virus.
Trump added: ‘I acted early.’
Contrary to what the president said in the bombshell interviews that have been widely reported, on Tuesday Trump said about the virus that he actually ‘up-played it in terms of action.’
In response to Trump’s latest comments Woodward said: ‘We are living in an Orwellian world, and this is not just about some political problem or some geopolitical problem.
‘It’s about the lives of people in this country, and he was told – he knew. He told me about it.’
While Woodward doesn’t sound alarmed during his conversations with Trump, he explained why it’s difficult to tell what he’s thinking during the interviews.
‘My job is not to be emotional and I’ve done it for 50 years and I tried to bleach the emotions out of it, but this is a story and unfortunately, it’s not over,’ he told Cooper.
‘We’re right in the middle of the damn pandemic and you talk to the doctors as I have and the experts and if we had received the kind of warning and this kind of ‘this is what you as citizens can do,’ this could be over.’