Bob Woodward, one of America’s most famous journalists, says he fears for the future of his country under President Donald Trump.
- US President Donald Trump would probably survive a scandal like Watergate today, journalist Bob Woodward says
- Mr Woodward says Republicans “do not have the backbone” to turn against Mr Trump
- He says Mr Trump believes he has many “secret supporters” across the United States who do not even tell their spouses they support him
“I’m deeply, profoundly worried about it,” Mr Woodward told 7.30.
“This polarisation … which he reflects, I mean, think of it, his job is to take care, and he is not taking care of the people.
“Lots of people just say, ‘Well, you know, the virus came in, it’s no one’s fault.’ That’s medically true but it’s the President’s job to manage it.”
Mr Woodward’s new book, Rage, revealed that Mr Trump admitted to playing down the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My conclusion, based on all the evidence, was that he’s the wrong man for the job,” Mr Woodward said.
Mr Woodward, an associate editor of The Washington Post, is best known for his coverage of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s which brought down President Richard Nixon.
In his first Australian interview since the release of his new book, Mr Woodward told 7.30 if Watergate happened today, Mr Trump would probably stick it out.
“He can. I mean Nixon was a criminal and it was proven and the Republican Party turned against him. The Republican Party does not have the backbone to turn against Trump,” he said.
And he felt it was quite possible Mr Trump, who he described as impulsive and unorganised, would win a second term.
“I think the election will be a toss-up. Of course he will feel, if he’s re-elected, that is a total validation,” Mr Woodward said.
“He is somebody who likes to win. We know in this country often that presidents who served four years and they’re not re-elected are thought to be failures. So I think that’s one of the reasons urging him on to be re-elected.”
Mr Woodward said a large segment of the population — “maybe 40 per cent” — support Mr Trump.
“He told me at some length, he said, ‘I have lots of secret supporters and people who love me. And they won’t tell pollsters, they won’t tell their wives, they won’t tell their spouses, but they secretly support me.’
“People criticise Trump, say he has no sense of decorum. His supporters love he has no sense of decorum, that he raises hell, he does the things he wants.”
Watch Leigh Sales interview Bob Woodward tonight on 7.30.