The topic quickly turned to “Rage,” the new book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward documenting Trump’s (really bad) handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
And then this exchange with “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy took place (fat is mine):
Doocy: I think a lot of your followers are going, why the hell was the President of the United States sitting and talking to Bob Woodward, something like 18 times, on tape?
Trump: “Well, because I thought he was kinda fair. I haven’t done that before, he only writes bad books. And I read it last night, I read it. very quickly and it was very boring. But there wasn’t much in that book. … It’s a boring book. “
OK, so Trump read the entire book on his flight from Arizona to DC? (He spent all night after his Arizona event on the plane, returning to the White House shortly before midnight.) This claim practically cries out for further examination.
Let’s start with what we know about Trump’s trip on Monday night.
According to reports from the White House Pool, Air Force One left Arizona at 5 p.m. local time, which meant it was 8 p.m. back on the East Coast. Trump landed at Andrews Air Force Base at 11:30 p.m. EST.
So that’s about three and a half hours of travel time. The Woodward book, according to Amazon, is 480 pages long.
A little bit of math in the background produces this: Trump should have read, about, 2.2 pages per minute to complete the whole book on the flight. That’s less than 30 seconds per page.
Which is very fast! The average reader (someone who reads 300 words per minute) takes about 1.7 minutes to read a page of a book, while a fast reader (450 words per minute) takes just over a minute.
In order for Trump to actually read the whole book, therefore, he would need to have read more than twice as fast as a fast reader, consuming 900 words or more every minute.
And when I say every minute, I mean every minute. As in, all 210 minutes it took him to fly from Arizona to DC. No look out the window for five minutes. No nap. No verification of his phone. No tweet. (According to his timeline, Trump or his staff sent out 12 tweets or retweets on the flight back to Washington.) No nothing – except reading 900 words per minute.
Now, it’s possible that Trump stayed up late after the robbery, reading the book “very quickly.” But it’s, well, how to say that, not at all likely. Especially when you consider what we know about Trump’s reading habits.
In July 2016, in an interview with the Washington Post, a reporter asked Trump if he had read presidential biographies as he prepared to officially become the GOP candidate.
Trump told the reporter he never had time to read, adding, “I never did. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m busier, I guess, than ever. ” “I like bullets or I like as little as possible,” Trump told Axios in the days leading up to his inauguration in 2017. “I don’t need, you know, 200 page reports on something that can be treated on one page. I can tell you.”
Former Trump White House economic adviser Gary Cohn made the point even more directly in an email obtained by author Michael Wolff for his book “Fire & Fury.”
“It’s worse than you can imagine,” Cohn wrote. “Trump won’t read anything, not one-page memos, no short political documents, nothing.”
You got the idea. There is no evidence that Trump is a voracious reader or, really, an avid reader at all. His preferred methods of obtaining information are short, pointed lists, verbal briefings or by watching television.
So, did Trump actually read Woodward’s entire book on the plane Monday night and find it “very boring”?
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