Excerpts from a new book by journalist Bob Woodward reveal that President Donald Trump said he does not feel a responsibility to understand the “anger and pain” experienced by many Black Americans. He also expressed dismay over a lack of support from Black voters, and commented on the intelligence of former President Obama.
The Washington Post shared excerpts of the book entitled “Rage” in advance of its Sept. 15 release.
The Post also shared audio clips from interviews Woodward conducted with Trump between December 2019 and July 2020, which serve as the basis of the book.
During a recorded June 19 conversation, after the death of George Floyd and during the national outrage that followed, Woodward asked Trump about his view on Black America’s anger and pain.
“Do you have any sense that that privilege has isolated and put you in a cave to a certain extent, as it put me and I think lots of white privileged people in a cave and that we have to work our way out of it to understand the anger and the pain, particularly, Black people feel in this country?” Woodward asked.
“No,” Trump responded. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
When pressed to acknowledge the predicament of Black people, Trump said, as he has previously, that he has done more for Black Americans than any president besides Abraham Lincoln.
When asked days later if he believed systematic or institutional racism exists in America, he responded, “Well, I think there is everywhere,” according to an audio clip. “I think probably less here than most places. Or less here than many places.”
Following pressure from Woodward, he said it was “unfortunate” that systemic racism exists in America.
During a conversation on July 8, Trump lamented about the dismal support he’s received from Black voters, saying, “I’ve done a tremendous amount for the Black community,” adding, “and, honestly, I’m not feeling any love.”
He shared his thoughts on former President Barack Obama: “I don’t think Obama’s smart,” Trump said to Woodward. “I think he’s highly overrated. And I don’t think he’s a great speaker.”