In at least three of the conversations between Donald Trump and Bob Woodward the topic of racial justice was discussed, and the president scorned the idea that he had a responsibility to "understand the anger and pain” felt by Black Americans.
The series of phone calls occurred after Black Lives Matter protests had erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.
The Washington Post reports that on 19 June Woodward brought up the subject of White privilege.
The veteran reporter suggested that as White men of the same generation with privileged backgrounds, they should better understand the pain of the Black population.
“No,” Trump replied, in a mocking and incredulous tone according to Woodward.
“You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all,” said the president.
Woodward attempted to get Trump to comprehend how generations of discrimination, inequality, and violence had contributed to the difficulties facing Black Americans today.
The president gave his standard reply. He pointed to economic and unemployment data for Black Americans prior to the pandemic, and claimed, yet again that he has done more for Black people than any president since Abraham Lincoln.
A few days later on 22 June, in a conversation about race relations, Woodward asked Trump if he thinks there is systemic or institutional racism in the US.
“Well, I think there is everywhere,” replied the president. “I think probably less here than most places. Or less here than many places.”
In response to a question as to whether racism exists in the US, he replied: “I think it is. And it’s unfortunate. But I think it is.”
Trump complained in a later conversation on 8 July about the lack of support for him from Black voters.
“I’ve done a tremendous amount for the Black community,” he said. “And, honestly, I’m not feeling any love.”
In other conversations, he railed against his predecessor and the first Black president, Barack Obama, saying that he didn’t think he was smart or a great speaker — that he was highly overrated.