“It’s been known for a while that this was going to be something that… needed some dealing-with,” one of the officials said. “The anticipation was that it would probably be worse than the other [earlier] Woodward book.”
That sense of impending dread stood in contrast to how the president initially felt about Woodward’s Rage, which deals with Trump’s handling of a range of high-stakes national security issues in addition to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump was “ecstatic” about the prospect of sitting for interviews with Woodward, according to a White House official, and relished some of his conversations with the famous Washington Post journalist.
Ultimately, Trump spoke with Woodward 18 times for the book. And at some point along the way, he had a change of heart, becoming convinced that Woodward was using him. Trump then began rage-tweeting the very reporter with whom he was so psyched to go on the record.