For weeks leading up to the publication of Bob Woodward’s latest book, West Wing aides were chatting about how damaging some of President Donald Trump’s quotes would be. In the past couple weeks, two senior Trump administration officials told The Daily Beast they were quietly gaming out how to combat or downplay what they’d heard was going to appear in the published work, and attempting to ferret out what other big tidbits would be in there as well.
“It’s been known for a while that this was going to be something that…needed some dealing-with,” one of the officials said. “The anticipation was that it would probably be worse than the other [earlier] Woodward book.”
That sense of impending dread stood in contrast to how the president initially felt about Woodward’s Rage, which deals with Trump’s handling of a range of high stakes national security issues in addition to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump was “ecstatic” about the prospect of sitting for interviews with Woodward, according to a White House official, and relished some of his conversations with the famous Washington Post journalist.