Veteran reporter Bob Woodward seemed unhappy after a healthcare reporter questioned his decision not to disclose President Trump’s comments about the coronavirus in public months before his new book, Rage, was released.
Woodward demanded an apology from Shira Stein, a Bloomberg reporter covering the Department of Health and Human Services, on Friday at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference after she asked him whom he consulted before deciding not to come forward with the tape of the president saying he “wanted to always play [the coronavirus] down.”
“Who did you consult with when you decided that what Trump said in January about COVID-19 wasn’t worth reporting?” she asked him. “Did any of them say you should publish it, and what was your justification for not doing so? As a healthcare reporter, you were wrong. We knew back then that this virus was spread by aerosol and was deadlier than the flu. You didn’t need to know where Trump got that information to know it was newsworthy.”
“I guess you didn’t cover when we dealt with this earlier. I urge you to read the book, and then, you can send me an apology because I was not wrong. […] I thought he was talking about China,” Woodward fired back. “It was in May that I learned he was talking about the U.S. […] You don’t understand the circumstances.”
The journalist, who is most known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, offered to send the reporter a copy of the book and said that she would “understand” once she read it.
Rage, which is the top book on New York Times’s best-sellers, included never-before-released anecdotes about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s letters to Trump, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats fearing that Russian President Vladimir Putin had dirt on Trump, and other details about the Trump presidency.