President Donald Trump failed both the country and himself by downplaying the dangers of coronavirus, and it is a "staggering, monumental tragedy across the board," "Rage" author Bob Woodward said Wednesday.
"It's not a problem that's going to go away," Woodward said during an extensive interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "He failed the country, he failed the Republican Party, he failed the concept of the office of the president, where you have this burden on your shoulders. It's not just another person. He has the megaphone."
Woodward said the last time he spoke with the president was about a month ago when Trump called him to ask if any information about the Israel/UAE peace agreement could be put in his book. "I asked about the virus," said Woodward. "This is a month ago. He says, 'nothing more could be done.' That just is shockingly untrue."
Woodward added that he thinks that the Oval Office meeting on Jan. 28, when National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned the president that the virus would be the biggest security threat in his presidency, will be one of the "most historic" events that have taken place there.
"It's tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000-plus people who have died," said Woodward. "If he'd been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now. It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure."
Woodward also said he does understand why Trump chose to play down the virus rather than take hold of it and fight back.
"A psychiatrist can try to answer that in terms of evidence," said Woodward. "He did not understand the country he leads. If you tell the American people the truth, people will rally around."
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