Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has published several books on Donald Trump, and each time he records the conversations. The recordings are valuable for anyone who interviews Trump, as he tends to claim after the fact that things are "fake news" or that people are lying. So, recordings can help in defense of any reporter forced to face off against Trump after he's gone on the attack.
In the case of Woodward, Trump attacked his book Rage as "very boring," after claiming he read the nearly 400-page book in "one sitting."
Trump also explained why he spoke to the Watergate reporter: “Well, because I assumed he was a little bit fair.”
Speaking to Fox about the Woodward book, Trump also called it "inaccurate."
In his new piece for the Washington Post, Woodward explained that he never reveals "raw interviews" or a "full transcript" of his recordings. With Trump, he explained, it was different.
"I was struck by how Trump pounded in my ears in a way the printed page cannot capture," Woodward wrote. "In their totality, these interviews offer an unvarnished portrait of Trump. You hear Trump in his own words, in his own voice, during one of the most consequential years in American history: amid Trump’s first impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic and large racial justice protests."
Trump has come out against the tapes, saying that they belong to him, not to Woodward and certainly should not have been published. Trump didn't make the recordings, and he never had possession of them, but like the classified documents he stole from the White House, Trump claims that they're his.
In a review of the tapes by NPR, Ron Elving explained that the tapes are also revealing about Woodward. It's clear that Trump is desperately trying to curry favor with the reporter.
Each time Trump tries to claim that he has the pandemic under control, "Woodward comes back with notes from nearly everyone else who had been in that room, all saying that at least four or five others (including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading epidemiologist) called for that same shutdown at the same meeting," NPR explained. "Trump denies this again and again, insisting he was "all alone" and bringing it up regularly as though Woodward had never heard it before."
According to Woodward, the words on the page can seem flat. But in Trump's voice, comes off as sometimes different.
"Sound has an extraordinary emotional power, an immediacy and authenticity," wrote Woodward. "A listener is brought into the room. It is a completely different experience from reading Trump’s words or listening to snatches of his interviews on television or the internet. Trump’s voice magnifies his presence."