Bob Woodward doesn’t suffer misbehaving presidents gladly. The legendary reporter is partly responsible for taking down no less than Richard Nixon. Now he’s caught the ire of another misbehaving commander-in-chief: Donald Trump. Last fall he ranted and raved when audio of him saying self-incriminating things was made public. Now he’s his Woodward with what is likely yet another of one of his frivolous lawsuits.
As per Bloomberg, Trump is seeking just under $50 million in damages from both Woodward and his publisher Simon & Schuster. His beef? That Woodward made public audio of the nearly two dozen interviews they did between 2019 and 2020, which provided the fodder for his second book on the 45th president, Rage, which was published less than two months before the 2020 election. Trump alleges he never consented to those recordings being made public.
“This case,” the legal filing reads, “centers on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation and exploitation of audio of President Trump.”
In a statement, Simon & Schuster called the lawsuit “without merit,” and that it is “in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words.”
Among the more shocking bombshells in the book and in the released audio was one that would have ended any other president’s political career. In an interview from the early days of the pandemic, Trump admitted he knew COVID-19 was “more deadly” than the common flu and that he liked “playing it down.” (That Woodward sat one that one for nearly a year is, as others have argued, not great.) Trump spent months brushing off COVID as similar to the flu, which very likely made the situation much worse than it had to be. It’s worth pointing out that Trump only objects to audio of him saying that, not that he said it in the first place.
Anyway, Woodward has a good track record when it comes to taking on presidents who may have broken the law. Hell, there’s even a beloved movie about it.