Legendary Watergate journalist Bob Woodward sounded the alarm on former President Donald Trump Sunday, releasing eight hours of interview recordings he says show the ex-president as a serious “threat to democracy.”
Trump was “just the wrong man for the job,” Woodward told host John Dickerson on “CBS Sunday Morning,” referring to Trump’s presidency.
“He’s not just the wrong man for the job,” Woodward added. “He’s dangerous, and he is a threat to democracy — and he’s a threat to the presidency because he doesn’t understand the core obligations that come with that office,” the Washington Post journalist explained.
Woodward used the 20 recorded interviews with Trump for his 2020 book “Rage.” Now he’s releasing the tapes separately in “The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump.”
“Trump is an unparalleled danger,” Woodward wrote in a Washington Post essay adapted from the new book. “When you listen to him on the range of issues from foreign policy to the virus to racial injustice, it’s clear he did not know what to do. Trump was overwhelmed by the job. He was largely disconnected from the needs and leadership expectations of the public and his absolute self-focus became the presidency.”
The interviews occurred over nine months in 2020 at various locations, including Trump’s calls to Woodward at his home. (Trump insisted in an interview with Fox host Brian Kilmeade Friday that Woodward’s tapes “belong to me,” and said he intends to sue over the right to use them.)
Woodward told Dickerson he recalled listening to the tone of Trump’s voice at one point talking about COVID-19, and thinking: “He’s drowning in himself.”
From all he has learned, Woodward noted in his essay that the “record now shows that Trump has led — and continues to lead — a seditious conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, which in effect is an effort to destroy democracy.”
He’ll be even more dangerous if he wins the White House again because he knows the “levers of power” and “full control means installing absolute loyalists in key Cabinet and White House posts,” Woodward warned.
Woodward agreed with Dickerson that Trump views the presidency as a “possession.”
“I think [he considers it] as a trophy,” Woodward added. “And he is gonna hold it.”
Woodward said he regrets not being pushier with Trump about the end of his term.
“There was one point where I asked him, ’I hear that if you lose, you’re not gonna leave the White House?” Woodward recalled.
But Trump refused to comment.
It was the “only time he had no comment,” said Woodward. “This was of course months before his loss. And I kind of slapped myself a little bit: Why didn’t I follow up on that a little bit more?”
Trump told a Texas crowd at a rally Saturday that he will probably run for the presidency in the next election.
Check out more of Woodward’s CBS interview, with Trump audio snippits, here: