The most outrageous revelations in Bob Woodward’s book ‘Rage’ aren’t the ones you’ve heard about

It’s not just lies about coronavirus. Woodward writes of the president as a man who can’t tell fantasy from reality

Andrew Feinberg

Washington DC

@AndrewFeinberg

The revelations in 'Rage' are often shocking
The revelations in ‘Rage’ are often shocking(AFP via Getty Images)

 

It’s not just the lies about Covid-19.

In Bob Woodward’s new 392-page chronicle of the Donald Trump presidency, Rage, the veteran Washington Post correspondent and author dives deep into some of the 45th president’s most consequential foreign and domestic policy choices. The book includes widely reported claims that Mr Trump knew how deadly Covid-19 was and chose to deliberately downplay it, putting the lives of millions at risk.

But elsewhere, Mr Woodward reports that Mr Trump had significant trouble distinguishing propaganda and partisan fantasy from reality.

These are some of the most worrying and eye-opening sections of the book.

Trump changed US policy towards the Palestinians after Benjamin Netanyahu showed him a crudely forged video of Mahmoud Abbas ordering murders

During one of his visits to Washington early in Mr Trump’s first year in office, the president reportedly told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he believed his government, not the Palestinians, might be the real problem holding back the peace process.

But, as Mr Woodward reveals, Mr Trump’s tone shifted markedly after his first visit to Israel as president in May 2017.

During a meeting with Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner pulled then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson into a meeting because Mr Trump was upset at a video Mr Netanyahu had showed him.

“Watch this! This is unbelievable! You’ve got to see this,” Mr Trump said to Mr Tillerson, before ordering staff to play what Mr Tillerson believed to be a crudely fabricated video of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas making inflammatory statements.

The video, which Mr Tillerson believed was either faked or manipulated (according to Mr Woodward), showed Abbas supposedly ordering the murder of children by stringing together out-of-context words and sentences.

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