President Donald Trump praised his positive relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, admitted to downplaying the severity of the novel coronavirus and repeatedly disparaged the U.S. military, according to journalist Bob Woodward‘s book Rage, set to be released Sept. 15.
Woodward reported that Trump and Jong-Un exchanged letters, one in which Jong-Un says their relationship was like a “fantasy film.” Trump described their chemistry saying: “You meet a woman. In one second, you know whether or not it’s going to happen.”
On the issue of the coronavirus pandemic, Woodward indicates that Trump knew the virus was deadly well before he told the American public.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
The comments came as Trump reassured the U.S. that the virus would quickly pass and only hit a small demographic of people.
However, in March as well, Trump told Woodward that he was aware children were not “almost immune” to the virus.
“Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too – plenty of young people,” Trump said.
Then in April, as he pushed for reopening, he said: “It’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it.”
In his book, Woodward also points out examples of Trump seemingly disrespecting military officials.
He quoted Trump telling his trade adviser Peter Navarro that U.S. military leaders “care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.” He reportedly told Woodward that the military were “suckers” for paying to protect South Korea, saying of the country: “We’re defending you, we’re allowing you to exist.”
Woodward, who is esteemed for his work uncovering the Watergate scandal, conducted 18 interviews with Trump for the book and spoke with many other top officials.