Former President Donald Trump told stunned journalist Bob Woodward in one of their multiple taped interviews that while he was president, “everything” was “mine.”
Of the 10 presidents Woodward has covered as a journalist, he told MSNBC host Ari Melber on Thursday, he had never before “heard anybody in the presidency .... think that somehow there is ownership in this.”
His presidency ended with Trump believing it was still his to control, the Washington Post journalist noted in the interview about his new audiobook, “The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews With President Donald Trump.” The interviews were conducted over nine months in 2020 while Trump was in the White House.
Trump, who hadn’t held a political office until he stepped into his Oval Office role, made the pronouncement that everything was his when Woodward asked him of his role: “Did somebody help you?”
“Yeah, I get people, they come up with ideas,” Trump told Woodward. “But the ideas are mine, Bob. Want to know something? Everything’s mine.”
Woodward told Melber: “The tragedy in all of this, when you go through all those audiotapes ... he didn’t understand the presidency and the obligations to the people. ... This isn’t about yourself. When he says, ‘Everything is mine,’ it kind of echoes this idea of the presidency is his. And we now even see him claiming that he won” the 2020 election, “when there’s no evidence to support that.”
Woodward pointed specifically to a president so enthralled by his own ideas that he unilaterally decided to “cover up” the warnings he received in January 2020 about the coming COVID-19 pandemic. He told Woodward he knew the virus was “deadly stuff,” but he admitted he “downplayed it” because he didn’t want to panic people — and didn’t push lifesaving health guidelines to help the American public. The pandemic has killed more than 1 million people in the U.S.
Woodward criticized Trump’s “sweeping disregard” for other people and for other ideas. “It’s not just ‘everything is mine,’” he added.
Woodward accused Trump of putting the presidency in “moral free fall.”
Check out Woodward’s full interview below. He addresses Trump’s attitude about everything being his in the presidency beginning at 5:44.