Nov 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa speak on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

  • "Milley said that Trump's provocations and willingness to launch military strikes, however, could lead to war. In 'Peril,' Milley is quoted saying of Trump, 'I continually reminded him, depending on where and what you strike, you could find yourself in a war.' ... It was a dangerous national security crisis."

Our thought bubble: One thing is certain — Trump didn’t learn about the contents of "Peril" by reading the book.

  • Trump doesn’t read books. He either saw the authors talking about it on TV — the most common source of his book rage — or he was told about it by somebody trying to whip him up.

The bottom line: Trump has plenty of folks in his orbit who have been trying for years (without success) to persuade him to stop doing interviews with traditional media.

  • To their immense frustration, Trump can’t quit the mainstream media. While he denied Woodward an interview, Trump sat this year for extensive interviews with reporters from outlets he regularly derides as "fake news" — then bashes the books when they come out.
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