The Trump White House's attacks on Bob Woodward won't damage the veteran reporter's credibility.
Cable TV waa in a frenzy Tuesday night over Woodward's revelations in "Fear: Trump in the White House," which doesn't come out until next week.
Woodward's book depicts Trump as a petulant, impulsive and ignorant man. According to Woodward, aides must constantly intervene to stop Trump from reckless and dangerous acts.
The accounts of aides calling Trump "an idiot" and a "fifth or sixth grader" ran on the front pages of the Washington Post and New York Times. Tellingly, the Wall Street Journal had no mention of the book Tuesday morning.
While Woodward is not quite the unassailable reporter extolled by Washington Post Watergate partner Carl Bernstein on CNN's "The Don Lemon Show," Woodward has built a durable reputation for accuracy with his series of books about American presidents and governmental agencies.
Woodward's claim of receiving a death-bed confession from former CIA director William Casey was disputed by critics, but Woodward withstood the fire. Democratic and Republican administrations have sputtered about Woodward's unveiling of their actions. As Bernstein said, Woodward's books remain well-regarded through the years.
I did find curious Woodward's claims that he was unable to set up an interview with Trump. In a taped conversation between Woodward and Trump made as the book was being printed, Woodward tells the president that he sought to set up an interview through Sen. Lindsey Graham and Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway. Trump answered that Conway never mentioned Woodward's request to him, while conceding that Graham did bring up Woodward's offer.
My reservations about Woodward result from watching the Showtime documentary "The Fourth Estate," about how The New York Times Washington Bureau battles to cover the Trump administration. On the show, the Times' Maggie Haberman interviews Trump by phone from her cubicle in the Times bureau. Later, the Times' Michael Schmidt discusses how he interviewed Trump by showing up at his Mar a Lago golf resort.
Perhaps Woodward should have gotten Trump's cellphone number from Haberman or, like Schmidt, camped out at one of Trump's golf resorts rather than trying to go through a third party.
Despite that quibble, Woodward's book matches revelations made in Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" and Omarosa Manigault's "Unhinged."
Woodward possesses much greater credibility than either of them. "Fear" will be another major blow to the sinking Trump presidency.