R&I – FS
Bob Woodward: ‘I can’t think of a time I’ve felt more anxiety about the presidency’
Bob Woodward is associate editor of the Washington Post and the author of 20 books on American politics. In 50 years as a journalist he has covered nine presidents. His reporting on the Watergate break-in and cover-up with his colleague Carl Bernstein helped bring down Richard Nixon and won the Post a Pulitzer prize. His latest book about Donald Trump, Rage, is based on 10 hours of interviews, spread over 19 taped phone calls, often initiated by the president himself, in which Trump proved “only too willing to blow the whistle on himself”, as the Observer’s review noted.
There is an atmosphere in Washington of high anxiety. Trump is melting down, to put it charitably. His campaign has been about lashing out, about wanting his former political opponents – President Obama and Joe Biden, who’s now running against him, of course – to be indicted then charged. Then there was his announcement that he is not necessarily going to accept the electoral result against him. The idea that the president would put in doubt the basic process of democracy and voting is not only unacceptable, it is a nightmare.
Now you have the added factor that Trump’s also had Covid-19 and he’s on steroids, saying things like, “It is a blessing from God that I got the virus”. I can’t think of anything more absurd, or crueller, than calling it a blessing from God. More than 210,000 people have died in the US. For the president of the US to talk like that is unbelievable, but I think people have become numb to it. The outrages pile up, in a way. People have forgotten the risks. I think Kamala Harris put it very well in the vice-presidential debate: what’s happened in the US with Covid-19 is the biggest failure of the president to exercise his responsibilities, perhaps in the history of the US.
Unfortunately, the impacts on people’s lives carry on, given the virus, given there’s no plan, or organized way of dealing with this. It’s all seat-of-the-pants impulsive decision-making. I can’t think of a time – and I’ve been a reporter for nearly 50 years – where I’ve felt more anxiety about the country and the presidency and the future. JR
Mary Trump: ‘If he wins, it’s over. Democracy is over’
Mary Trump is a psychologist and the niece of Donald Trump. Her father, Fred Trump Jr, the president’s older brother, died when she was 16. Her tell-all book about the president and the Trump family, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, sold almost 1m copies on the first day it was published in July this year.