Since he was appointed President of the United States in 2016, there has been no shortage of books about Donald Trump, his family, and his administration. Titles such as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough have all proven to be big hits, and given that Bob Woodward’s second book about Trump, called Rage, has sold over half a million copies in its first week, it seems the interest in Trump isn’t going away any time soon.
Woodward’s first book about Trump, entitled Fear, was published in 2018 and follows the rise of Donald Trump, as well as his first few years in the White House. The follow-up, Rage, takes a critical look at the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial unrest, and his relationships with world leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. The book’s title comes from a conversation Woodward had with Trump, where he noted there was “a lot of angst and rage and distress” among those in the Republican Party, to which Trump replied “I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have… I don’t know if that’s an asset or a liability, but whatever it is, I do. I also bring great unity out, ultimately. I’ve had many occasions like this, where people have hated me more than any human being they’ve ever met. And after it’s all over, they end up being my friends. And I see that happening here”.
According to USA Today, Rage has sold over 600,000 copies within its first week of sales and has topped USA Today’s bestseller list, beating competition from heavy hitters such as J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and Ken Follett. Publisher Simon & Schuster has announced the book will be going into its fourth printing, totaling 1.3 million copies in print.
Rage was written from 18 interviews Woodward had with Trump, including one in which the 45th President admits in February that the looming COVID-19 pandemic could be severe. Trump told Woodward that, while he understood how many people would be at risk from the virus, he was going to “play it down” and planned to continue doing so so. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump explained. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
The book also reveals that James Mattis, the former Defense Secretary, told former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that Trump was “dangerous”, “unfit,” and has “no moral compass.” He went on to say Trump was unable to tell “the difference between truth and a lie.” “There may come a time when we have to take collective action,” Mattis reportedly told Coats.
Trump has acknowledged Woodward’s book and, as we reported, claims to have read it in one night. During an appearance on Fox and Friends, Trump said: “I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring.”
No doubt this won’t be the last book we see about President Trump, but we do have to wonder whether we can expect a third book in Woodward’s series. No doubt interest in the Trump administration will only increase as the presidential election draws nearer.