Bob Woodward Book Claims Trump Thought Condemning Charlottesville Nazis Was ‘Biggest F—ing Mistake’ He Ever Made
Bob Woodward has claimed in his new tell-all book Fear that President Donald Trump was furious about having to clean up his comments on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year after his advisers urged him to rephrase his statement.
The veteran reporter — whose latest book will be released on Sept. 11 — explains how former White House aide Rob Porter discussed writing an alternative speech with Trump in order to respond to backlash the president received for his remarks about the violence that broke out at the August 2017 rally, where one woman died after liberal counter-protesters clashed with neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.
Trump famously said there were “very fine people on both sides” and that there was also “blame on both sides” for the violence that resulted from the rally.
After reportedly resisting pressure from top aides to clarify his comments, the president said in a televised statement two days afterwards that he denounced racism and hatred of all kinds, and specifically named alt-right hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis.
Woodward now alleges that Trump told Porter he regretted having given that second speech.
“That was the biggest f—ing mistake I’ve made,” Trump reportedly said to his then-adviser. “You never make those concessions. You never apologize. I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. Why look weak?”
Woodward continued writing what the president told Porter: “I can’t believe I got forced to do that,” he said. “That’s the worst speech I’ve ever given. I’m never going to do anything like that again.”
The White House denied Woodward’s allegations in a statement on Tuesday, calling the journalist’s claims “fabricated stories.”
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Woodward also wrote in his new book that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Bannon in the days after the rally that he feared many of Trump’s Cabinet members would resign because “this thing’s on a knife’s edge … people are not going to tolerate it.”
However, Bannon was ultimately the only administration official who left the White House following the controversy.