In the room with Bob Woodward
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In the room with Bob Woodward

by Abby Koch–Bob Woodward, best known for his work on the Watergate scandal, sees similarities in the politics the past and today. Woodward highlighted the similarities between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump to a press panel before later taking the Eppley Auditorium stage for the 2019 Waitt Lecture. 

Along with his work with Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal, Woodward is an associate editor for The Washington Post. He is also a national bestseller, with his most recent being Fear: Trump in the White House.

Bob Woodward, 2019 Waitt Lecture (photo by Abby Koch)

The journalist mentioned that much of the history, the procedures, and the tone of the Watergate era mirror the current Trump impeachment talks. Some of it relates to both presidents waging “war” against the news media, and essentially destroying a leading candidate’s campaign.

“What Nixon did that is documented, on a scale of zero to ten, is an eleven,” said Woodward, “Trump, we are at the beginning phase of it. I don’t know what number. It’s going to come out at the end. And so presumably, we’re going to have a serious investigation; I think it’s important that it would be serious.”

Woodward hopes that the Trump investigation is a long one. Much of this hope is to identify everyone involved, be collective and move on.

With Trump in possible impeachment, much as Nixon was, Woodward sees differences between the two presidents’ personalities. Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House, documents the big difference of people trying to curb Trumps impulses and end up failing.

 “My summary of Trump is that it’s a governing crisis,” explained Woodward. “The Trump administration suffered from a nervous breakdown. Because all of these people were trying to stop things, sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully, but they’re gone.”

The other key difference that Woodward sees different with this administration is the polarization with Trump. As America comes close to the 2020 presidential race and with impeachment talks, Trump still has huge support. Woodward believes that to understand his support, people need to try to understand who he is.

October 10, 2019

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