In Woodward’s most recent audiobook, The Trump Tapes, we hear Bob Woodward and Donald Trump from a fresh perspective. New recordings of Woodward’s meetings with Trump allegedly provide clarity on what the former president was secretly telling his own family about the pandemic.

Woodward has been gradually making available the uncut audio of the numerous interviews he conducted with Trump in 2019 and 2020.

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Recordings from the past revealed that Trump consistently wished to downplay the outbreak because he didn’t “want to create a panic.” Trump also told Woodward in newly discovered recordings, which MSNBC’s Ari Melber shared, what he was saying to his youngest son in private.

“So you told Barron, you said, ‘It’s bad, it’s bad.’ And then —” Woodward said. “No, I said, it’s a very bad thing, but we’re going to straighten it out,” Trump cut him off.

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“Did he have any other questions about, like, how are you going to…” Woodward asked. “He said, how did it happen? I said it came out of China, Barron. Pure and simple. It came out of China. And it should’ve been stopped,” Trump replied. “And to be honest with you, Barron, they should’ve let it be known it was a problem two months earlier. And we wouldn’t, the world would not, we would have 141 countries have it now. And I said, the world wouldn’t have a problem. We could’ve stopped it easily.”

In a 2022 interview on Morning Edition with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Woodward discussed how “the power of the audio” drives home a troubling aspect of Trump. “His voice is so consumed with himself and how he feels and his conclusions.” Trump, according to Woodward, “does not understand democracy,” and “is not comfortable with democracy.”

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“It’s so off the tracks, you don’t know what to do with it,” Woodward says to Inskeep. “It’s almost unexplainable. So what do you as a reporter? You just put it all out there and let the people decide.”