WASHINGTON – Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward reportedly said Tuesday that he was 'quite frankly embarrassed' for President Donald Trump that he had given himself an A+ grade for his coronavirus response, as 200,000 U.S. citizens are now dead.
Woodward, speaking at at an invite-only forum for the Citizen by CNN 2020 conference, said in his experience of covering nine different presidents he has "never seen anything like" Trump's mangled handling of the ongoing pandemic that has led to "Two hundred thousand Americans dying."
"The visitation of the medical nightmare on the American population is staggering, stunning. It's on his head, and he did not do enough. He just didn't." Woodward continued, according to CNN.
Woodward recently released an explosive new book on Trump titled "Rage", which included the president telling the journalist in a recorded interview weeks before the first death in the U.S. that despite knowing how "deadly" and serious the coronavirus pandemic would be, he wanted to "play it down" and would to continue to do so.
Trump additionally told Woodward in an interview on Feb. 7 about how much "more deadly" COVID-19 would be than the flu, a startling juxtaposition from the president's public remarks at the time and in the months since about COVID-19, its lethality and its spread.
Woodward was asked about Trump repeating Monday his administration would "take an A-plus" regarding the response to COVID-19. Woodward said he is "quite frankly embarrassed for him that he would say that, because all Americans know that 200,000 were killed."
Woodward said Trump "harasses people" and "attacks people who work for him."
"This impulse decision-making, I've never seen anything like it in the presidency or any other institution where it's this one man band and he's going to say and do exactly what he wants, often giving no warning to his closest aides," Woodward said, according to CNN.
He later contrasted Trump and President Richard Nixon, who resigned following the Watergate scandal, saying that "Nixon was a criminal president, and he was driven out of office by the Republican Party. His people used to say no one died at Watergate, and there's a certain truth to that."
"Two hundred thousand people have died at this, and Trump, by taking remedial action by being honest with the American people, which I — he just didn't understand, does not understand the people he leads," he continued.
The veteran journalist continued to claim that Trump has been using filling the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, who passed away just Friday at the age of 87, to shift focus away from the coronavirus pandemic response.
"We see now with the Supreme Court issue he's shifted the spotlight," Woodward said. "He's absolutely delighted - this is an issue that's very important to his base, to Evangelicals. So the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of these events in history that has changed the entire dynamic."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bob Woodward on Trump's COVID-19 response: 'He did not do enough'