Tag Archives: Bob Woodward

He put us in ‘Peril’

The older I get the harder it becomes for me to sit down with a book and read it from front to back non-stop. Yep, even those so-called page-turners.

That all said and understood (I presume), I ordered a new non-fiction piece of work that well could go down as a landmark historical document of the final days of the 45th president’s term in office. It’s titled “Peril,” co-written by a walking-talking journalistic legend, Bob Woodward, and an up-and-comer, Robert Costa.

They are telling the world a story about the imminent peril that the 45th POTUS put the nation through while he continued to fight the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won fairly, squarely, legally and any other way you want to describe it.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart to assure him he would be alerted ahead of a possible attack by the United States, Woodward and Costa tell us. They also related how then-Vice President Mike Pence talked with one of his VP predecessors, fellow Indianan Dan Quayle, about how he (Pence) could overturn the results of the election; Quayle told Pence to “give it up,” that he had no choice but to obey the Constitution and certify the results on Jan. 6.

I want to know more. I trust Woodward implicitly to get it right. I mean, he and his former Washington Post college Carl Bernstein wrote the book on political investigative journalism (no pun intended) during the Watergate crisis of the 1970s.

This is good stuff. I might be too old to read a good book in one sitting. I am damn sure not too old to learn more about how vulnerable our democratic institutions can become when we put a charlatan in charge of our nation’s executive government branch.


‘Rage’ ends with … rage

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Bob Woodward crossed a line that reporters don’t usually dare to cross. He delivered a stinging rebuke of the subject of a book he has just written.

“Rage” chronicles Donald Trump’s deception — among other things — regarding the pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans. We hear from Trump’s own voice how he “downplayed” the pandemic so as to avoid “panic” among Americans. He undersold the threat even though he knew it would be a killer of many thousands of Americans.

Woodward, the legendary Washington Post reporter who, with Carl Bernstein, unraveled the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, couldn’t resist the temptation to offer a scathing indictment on Donald Trump at the very end of “Rage.”

“When his performance as president is taken in its entirety,” he intones, “I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

OK. I happen to agree with him. So do millions of other Americans. To be fair, millions of other Americans believe Trump is the greatest president in history. I believe those folks are tragically mistaken.

Do I condemn or condone what Woodward wrote at the end of his latest book. I will condone it, but with a caveat: He no longer can be assigned to work on any aspect of a future story on Donald Trump being reported by the Washington Post.

Woodward said he consulted with his wife, Elsa, who edited his work. He talked to other editors, book publishers, colleagues at the Post. They all agreed that he had to keep that ending in the book.

Woodward told the truth as I have known it all along about Donald John Trump.

Trump likes those authoritarians?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, that Bob Woodward is revealing a lot about Donald Trump, much of it we knew, but much of it also is so shocking to hear coming directly from Trump himself.

Such as his admission to Woodward that he prefers dealing with authoritarian leaders. Of course, I use the word “authoritarian” with some caution. The term doesn’t come close to describing the heavy hand used in places such as North Korea, Russia, Turkey and the Philippines, all of which are governed by despots/tyrants/killers.

They also seem to curry favor with Trump, who in the past has praised them for their, um, “strong leadership” and other goofy terms of endearment.

Woodward is making the news/talk show circuit these days, talking up his new book “Rage,” which has revealed how Trump lied to Americans about what he learned in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. He downplayed the impact of the virus to us publicly, but stated to Woodward as early as February that we were facing a killer virus.

This authoritarian preference, though, seems to suggest a sort of projection of Trump onto the style employed by these other world leaders. It’s as if he wants to be just like them.

Except for this little restraint: The U.S. Constitution limits presidential power, meaning that Donald Trump cannot exert the kind of authority he seemingly would like to exert.

If only Trump would read the nation’s governing framework.

Keeping up with scandals

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I consider myself to be a fairly astute current events follower.

I say that, though, even as Donald Trump’s campaign for re-election keeps flying into the ditch. So help me it’s hard to keep up with the mistakes and scandalous behavior that places Trump’s effort — for my money — in much-need dire peril.

The coronavirus pandemic erupted on Trump’s watch. He downplayed it publicly initially. He likened it to the flu. It has killed nearly 200,000 Americans and is making many more sick. The United States now has about a fourth of the world’s infection and death, which far exceeds our percentage of total population.

Oh, my.

Then he denigrates the service of men and women who are injured or die while fighting for our country. Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic quotes Trump as calling these brave Americans “suckers” and “losers.”

You want more? Then the president decides to suggest that the top men and women in our military command are in it for the money, that they want war because it keeps weapons makers in business. War profiteering? Really? He said that out loud, in public, all by himself.

Let’s arc back to the pandemic. Trump told Bob Woodward, the esteemed reporter and editor, that he downplayed the COVID-19 threat initially because he didn’t want to “panic” Americans. Meanwhile, he dawdles and dithers on our response, allowing thousands of Americans to get sick and die from the killer viral infection. Oh, but let’s not cause panic.

I am having trouble keeping up with all this stuff, man.

Of the recent tempests that have dogged Donald Trump, I guess you can settle on any of them as being potentially fatal to his re-election campaign effort.

For my liking, I am leaning toward how Trump is going to explain to us unwashed masses how he justifies lying to Americans about a pandemic he knew would kill thousands of us. How does he justify seeking to pacify a nation with false bravado?

Any one of those events might be enough to fill a nation with rage. Taken altogether? Donald Trump has his hands full.

Is POTUS really this stupid?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Stupidity has reared its elaborately coiffed head in the White House.

I am trying to understand how Donald Trump could tell a reporter — on the record — that the coronavirus pandemic is destined to kill potentially thousands of Americans while telling the rest of us that the virus is “like the flu” and is “under control.”

So now the reporter, the legendary Bob Woodward, is about to publish a book , “Rage,” that chronicles the gloomy forecast Trump gave to him in February while POTUS at the same time is spinning an entirely different message to the American public.

I think some of us would call that a supreme act of “stupidity.” How in the name of candor does Donald Trump think he can get away with deliberately withholding valuable information from Americans while at that moment telling a reporter the actual truth about what he saw coming all along?

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden blames Trump directly for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Their lives are lost and Trump is responsible, Biden has declared.

Joe Biden is correct. Donald Trump just admitted to telling us a deadly lie. As for whether Woodward should have reported what he learned in real time, that’s another subject for another time.

We have a case here of the president of the United States purposely ignoring the oath he took to protect Americans.


No ‘fake news’ here

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A Donald Trump campaign staffer laid it on the line.

“Hard to say fake news when there is audio of his comments,” the staffer said.

What we have here are Donald Trump’s own words saying things that have caused yet another eruption on the 2020 presidential election campaign trail.

Donald Trump spoke at length with legendary reporter Bob Woodward, who’s about to release a book, “Rage.” What did Trump say that has caused such an upheaval? Oh, only that he knew in February that the COVID-19 pandemic was a deadly event, but that he deliberately withheld any warning signs of doom because he didn’t want to cause “panic” among Americans.

So, let’s see how we connect a few dots.

Donald Trump vowed to protect Americans when he became president of the United States. Then in the earliest weeks of 2020, a virus was detected overseas. Donald Trump’s initial public reaction was to declare that the coronavirus would disappear, that it would vanish like a “miracle.” No sweat, he said. Nothing to see here, he reminded us.

Except now we hear that he knew early on that we had a relentless killer knocking on our door. And that Donald Trump refused to do a damn thing to protect Americans.

Good ever-lovin’ grief! Is this a “promise kept” or is it a sacred oath violated?

The word now is that the Trump campaign and the White House are “scrambling” to craft — or concoct — a cogent message to respond to Trump’s own words.

There, indeed, can be no “fake news” retort from Team Trump, or from Trump himself. Although, and this point should be made, not a damn thing ever has prevented Trump from invoking that phony excuse even when the evidence has been laid directly at his feet.

Why sit on this news?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I didn’t originate this thought, but I want to forward it to you on this blog?

A good friend of mine wonders why Bob Woodward, the esteemed Washington Post reporter and editor, didn’t tell the world in February what Donald Trump told him in the moment: that he knew the COVID crisis could be deadly, but he kept it from us because he didn’t want to “cause panic.”

Woodward tells us in an upcoming book titled “Rage” that Trump knew all along that the pandemic could kill a lot of folks, but decided to downplay it.

As my friend wonders, that was in February. Now we know what Woodward knew back then. That was 191,000 American deaths ago from the COVID-19 virus.

Hmm. That is a fascinating matter to ponder.

I do hope that when Woodward hits the TV news interview circuit to talk up his book that the talking heads have the good sense to ask him why he sat on that news for as long as he did … and whether he is as complicit in the deaths that have occurred as Donald Trump!

Trump is all the ‘Rage’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Robert Woodward practically needs no introduction.

He is a legendary journalist who, with the equally legendary Carl Bernstein, produced a body of work that resulted in the near impeachment and resignation on an American president.

So now he has sat down with Donald Trump and is about to release a new book called “Rage.” What did Trump tell Woodward … to his face? Oh, just that he knew in February that the coronavirus pandemic was serious and could kill thousands of people but that he kept that information from the public.

Trump told Woodward, “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

OK, there you go. Donald Trump took an oath to protect Americans. He has admitted to Robert Woodward that he welshed on that promise. On purpose!

How in the world is Trump going to defend this once the book is published? Oh, I know. He’ll say Woodward made the quotes up, that he never said it and that the legendary journalist is a practitioner of “fake news.”

To think as well that millions of Americans will buy into the president’s ridiculous denial!

Did Trump really believe he would win in 2016?

I’m fairly deep into the “Fear,” the blockbuster book by Bob “Watergate Fame” Woodward.

The book touches on a theme I keep encountering as I read analyses of Donald Trump’s administration, his winning campaign in 2016 and the slipshod way he assembled his White House team after he won the election.

The theme is this: Trump didn’t actually expect to win the 2016 presidential election.

Woodward refers to the surprise that voters delivered to the Republican presidential nominee on Election Night. Noting that surprise time and again throughout the book, I keep wondering: Why did Trump actually run for this office? Was it a business deal to end all business deals?

I have noted in this blog that Trump — before becoming a politician — had spent his entire adult life seeking to attain personal wealth. He is the master of self-aggrandizement. Self-promotion is his MO. He is wired solely and exclusively to promote himself.

How in the world does someone with that sort of makeup sincerely believe he is capable of assuming a job that requires him to take an oath to look out for the interests of others?

I cannot possibly believe that such a man actually intends to set aside his entire adulthood existence for a life of public service. When I refer to “public service,” I intend to suggest that one who climbs into that arena is dedicated to others.

Does the 45th president of the United States strike you as someone who fills that bill . . . or even expected to find himself in the role he now plays?

What’s with the ‘shekels’ reference, Eric?

I feel a need to weigh in briefly on a strange reference uttered by Eric Trump, the second son of the president of the United States.

Is it an anti-Semitic reference? Gosh, I just don’t know. It is weird, nonetheless.

Trump was talking about Bob Woodward’s newly released book, “Fear,” and — naturally — he criticized its conclusions about Donald Trump’s administration. You’ve heard about the book, yes? It’s been in all the papers.

According to MSN.com: “Don’t you think people look through the fact that you can write a sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president,” Eric Trump said on Wednesday’s “Fox and Friends,” the network’s morning show, when asked about Woodward’s book.

“It will mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels,” Eric Trump added. “Is that really where we are? I think people see through this.”

Three extra “shekels”? Huh? What’s up with that?

Shekel is the currency used in Israel. Why would Eric make that particular reference? Why not just say, “Make a little extra money”? Or, “three extra bucks”?

Some critics have suggested the shekels reference is intentionally anti-Semitic. I don’t know if it is or it isn’t.

However, it does reveal a curiously inarticulate, clumsy and bizarre use of the English language by a member of the Trump family. Now that I think about it, such rhetorical goofiness does seem to run in the family.