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Bob Woodward Says He's Never Seen a Former President With as Much Political Strength as Trump

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/12/2021 Aila Slisco
Journalist Bob Woodward said Monday that former President Donald Trump had retained the most "political strength" of any former president due to "obedience" from Republicans. Trump is pictured smiling while Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on October 9, 2021. © Scott Olson/Getty Journalist Bob Woodward said Monday that former President Donald Trump had retained the most "political strength" of any former president due to "obedience" from Republicans. Trump is pictured smiling while Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on October 9, 2021.

Former President Donald Trump has retained the most political power of any former U.S. president due to an "iron curtain of obedience" from Republicans, according to journalist Bob Woodward.

Woodward made the remarks during a Monday night interview with CNN's Erin Burnett. The famed journalist, who is best known for his original reporting on the Watergate scandal alongside Carl Bernstein nearly a half century ago, was commenting on 88-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) appearing alongside Trump at an Iowa rally over the weekend.

"What's going on now really is an iron curtain of obedience to Trump," Woodward said. "It's not just polite deference, it is obedience. And it really is an iron curtain because it's so strong. These people, like Senator Grassley, can count. They can look at the polls. They go to their home states, they talk to constituents. And there's tens of millions of people who support Trump."

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Grassley, who is hoping to win another Senate term in next year's election, received the "complete and total endorsement" of Trump during the Saturday rally.

The octogenarian senator later commented that he "wouldn't be too smart" if he "didn't accept the endorsement of a person that's got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa."

A Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll released ahead of Saturday's rally found that Trump had a higher approval rating in Iowa than he ever did as a sitting president. He also enjoyed significantly more GOP support than Grassley—91 percent of Republicans in the state approved of the ex-president, compared to 81 percent support for the senator.

Woodward suggested that Trump's continued popularity among Republicans was due in part to nearly constant campaigning.

Although Trump has not officially announced that he intends to run for president in 2024, he has hinted at a run and since his 2020 defeat has continued to hold rallies, often using the appearances to repeat false claims that the last election was "stolen" by President Joe Biden.

"This is a political strength that we have rarely seen, never seen from a former president," said Woodward. "After Nixon resigned, he didn't go out and campaign. He conducted a war against history to say Watergate was really just a blip. But the tapes buried Nixon and showed that was not true."

"Let's face it: Trump's popularity, his power in the Republican party has grown since he left office," he added. "It has not shrunk."

Woodward has authored three books focusing on the Trump presidency since 2018. The most recent book, Peril, was co-authored with journalist Robert Costa and released last month. It details the final months of Trump's term, including failed attempts to overturn the 2020 election outcome, as well as the early days of the Biden administration.

Newsweek reached out to the office of Trump for comment.

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