“Rage,” by Bob Woodward. President Trump really is off the wall…

JVL Introduction

Bob Woodward’s new 392-page chronicle of the Donald Trump presidency, Rage is due to be published today, 15 September.

Early leaks of the book’s details have been explosive – including an admission from Trump that he was “playing” down the threat posed by COVID-19.

In this short extract below Andrew Feinberg looks at the lies and fabrications which have poisoned US policy towards the Palestinians.

This article was originally published by the Independent on Fri 11 Sep 2020. Read the original here.

The most outrageous revelations in Bob Woodward’s book ‘Rage’ aren’t the ones you’ve heard about

It’s not just lies about coronavirus. Woodward writes of the president as a man who can’t tell fantasy from reality

It’s not just the lies about Covid-19.

In Bob Woodward’s new 392-page chronicle of the Donald Trump presidency, Rage, the veteran Washington Post correspondent and author dives deep into some of the 45th president’s most consequential foreign and domestic policy choices. The book includes widely reported claims that Mr Trump knew how deadly Covid-19 was and chose to deliberately downplay it, putting the lives of millions at risk.

But elsewhere, Mr Woodward reports that Mr Trump had significant trouble distinguishing propaganda and partisan fantasy from reality.

These are some of the most worrying and eye-opening sections of the book.

Trump changed US policy towards the Palestinians after Benjamin Netanyahu showed him a crudely forged video of Mahmoud Abbas ordering murders

During one of his visits to Washington early in Mr Trump’s first year in office, the president reportedly told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he believed his government, not the Palestinians, might be the real problem holding back the peace process.

But, as Mr Woodward reveals, Mr Trump’s tone shifted markedly after his first visit to Israel as president in May 2017.

During a meeting with Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner pulled then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson into a meeting because Mr Trump was upset at a video Mr Netanyahu had showed him.

“Watch this! This is unbelievable! You’ve got to see this,” Mr Trump said to Mr Tillerson, before ordering staff to play what Mr Tillerson believed to be a crudely fabricated video of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas making inflammatory statements.

The video, which Mr Tillerson believed was either faked or manipulated (according to Mr Woodward), showed Abbas supposedly ordering the murder of children by stringing together out-of-context words and sentences.

“And that’s the guy you want to help?” Mr Netanyahu asked Mr Trump.

When the Israeli leader (now being tried on corruption charges) had left the room, Mr Tillerson said to Mr Trump: “Mr President, you realise that the whole thing was fabricated?”

“Well it’s not fabricated,” Mr Trump replied. “They got the guy on tape saying it.”

The next day, he privately berated Mr Abbas when the two met in Bethlehem, calling him a “liar” and a “murderer” who had “tricked [him]” into believing that the longtime Palestinian leader could be trusted. The next year, he canceled nearly all US aid to the Palestinian territories and ordered the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington DC to be shuttered.

Comments (5)

  • Dr Rodney Watts says:

    Quite a revelation which epitomises a) the snake that is Netanyahu and b) the intellectual deficiency and inability of Trump to listen to people like Rex Tillerson. Bob Woodward’s book along with the other recent publications paint a picture of a President truly ” not fit for the job”. Sadly many innocents and oppressed peoples like the Palestinians are suffering the consequences. However these revelations must give hope to all those of us who care deeply about truth and injustice, even though it appears that Trump’s base is still much stronger than it ought to be. We also, of course, need to be very sober in regard to Joe Biden and Israel/Palestine.

  • RC says:

    Trump’s gullibility is comparable to that of the entire British Establishment including the Labour Right, the billionaire press. Indeed, it comes not from naive gullibility but from conscious lying over such a long period that it has become second nature: “a land without people”, “the Arab notables’ broadcast calling on Palestinians to leave room for the ‘invading Arab armies'”, ‘the democratic character of Israel’ and so on. These pillars of Zionism are therefore still more culpable.

  • North Durham Lass says:

    May I also recommend Sir Kim Darroch’s book: Collateral Damage – Britain, America and Europe in the Age of Trump. (To be published on Thursday). He was the UK ambassador in Washington last year before Boris threw him under a bus when his private emails were leaked…the book contains truly shocking revelations about the Trump administration and US foreign policy. (Sir Kim originally hailed from North Durham).

  • William Johnston says:

    There are two things that are worth bearing in mind here:

    1. Trump is not the problem; it is those many who maintain him in power when his idiocy is so flagrantly apparent to all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Republican leaders cold have removed him from office at any moment – certainly they could have done so at the time of the impeachment proceedings. If a half-wit is being encouraged to believe that he should be king of the universe, don’t blame the half-wit.

    2. US foreign policy is far more a reflection of long-term US policy than it is of any individual president. Trump may be able to skew certain aspects of foreign policy; policies against left-wing regimes and in favour of right-wing dictatorships have been pretty much consistent for the last sixty years.

  • RH says:

    Odd that one of the few things that – like the legendary stopped watch – Trump got right was that the lethality of Covid was vastly overblown (in the UK, 2019/20 was only 8th in terms of seasonal mortality since 1993. Did anyone notice those 7 other years?).

    Not a good look for Woodward’s journalism that he got this basic fact so wrong – even if journalism has a generally appalling record in just perpetuating hand-me-down myths about the virus.

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