President Donald Trump greets supporters following a Fox News Town Hall event with moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on March 05, 2020 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Among other topics, President Trump discussed his administration's response to the Coronavirus and the economy. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward conducted a series of interviews with President Donald Trump for his new book, "Rage," which is due out on Sep. 15 — but the details are already coming out.
Between December 2019 and July 2020, Woodward conducted 18 on-the-record interviews with the president — and "Rage" is based in part on those interviews. And the revelations are nothing short of explosive.
Here are four of the most stunning details:
1. Trump rages about the generals
Woodward quotes Woodward as saying, "My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals."
2. Mattis and Coats recognized Trump's unfitness
"Rage," according to Washington Post reporters Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, contains "brutal assessments of Trump's conduct from Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others:
Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral to pray about his concern for the nation's fate under Trump's command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, "There may come a time when we have to take collective action" since Trump is "dangerous. He's unfit."
In a separate conversation recounted by Woodward, Mattis told Coats, "The president has no moral compass," to which the director of national intelligence replied: "True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It's just what he thinks. He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie."
3. He knowingly misled about COVID-19
Another damning thing in Woodward's book, the Post and CNN are reporting, is that Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus was "deadly" even when he was still claiming that it didn't pose a major threat to the United States.
During a February 7 interview, according to CNN, Trump told Woodward, "This is deadly stuff." Trump told Woodward it was "pretty amazing" how deadly COVID-19 was and acknowledged that it was perhaps five times "more deadly" than the flu.
"You just breathe the air, and that's how it's passed," Trump told Woodward that day. "And so, that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flu."
At that point, coronavirus was spreading rapidly in Mainland China. But Trump was still insisting that it wouldn't imperil the United States. The COVID-19 death count, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has since killed more than 189,900 people in the U.S. and over 898,700 people worldwide (as of Sept. 9).
Trump has said that back in January and February, he had no way of knowing how deadly COVID-19 could become in the U.S. But Robert Costa and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post report that on January 28 — according to Woodward's book — National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned Trump, "This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency. This is going to be the roughest thing you face."
Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger agreed with O'Brien that day, telling Trump that based on what he was hearing from contacts in China, COVID-19 was shaping up to be the worst health crisis since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/1919 — which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
In March, after the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, Trump began to publicly acknowledge how dangerous it was. And during a March 19 conversation, according to Costa and Rucker, Trump admitted to Woodward that he had deliberately downplayed the danger.
"I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Trump told the journalist/author — who is famous for his Washington Post reporting, with Carl Bernstein, on the Watergate scandal back in the 1970s.
4. Fauci reportedly lambasted the president in private
According to "Rage," expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci — who has been part of Trump's coronavirus task force — expressed frustration over Trump's response to the coronavirus crisis, describing Trump's leadership as "rudderless" and complaining to others that his "attention span is like a minus number." Fauci, Woodward says in the book, told an associate, "His sole purpose is to get reelected."