Journalist Bob Woodward’s new book features several behind-the-scenes reporting about the beginning two years of President Donald Trump’s administration.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed the contents of the book, blaming many of the stories that looked unfavorable to the president on former White House employees.
“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad,” she said in a statement emailed to reporters.
Woodward says he sometimes uses “deep background” information and quotes from sources who do not want to be revealed in the book. Trump expressed interest in being interviewed for the book, but the interview with Woodward never took place.
On Twitter, Trump challenged Woodward’s motivations for publishing the book right before the midterm elections.
“Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes,” Trump wrote. “Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”
The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
Many of the people quoted in the book – including Attorney John Dowd, General John Kelly, and General James Mattis – denied making disparaging remarks about the president.
Statement from White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly: pic.twitter.com/LUN8cDr3N5
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
NEW: Defense Sec. James Mattis on Woodward book: "While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility." https://t.co/H1DIB0RZb0 pic.twitter.com/w9WWTnUI45
— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2018
Here are some of the alleged details from the book that we know so far:
Trump hates disloyalty and incompetence and publicly griped and blasted his aides for failure.
He called Jeff Sessions a “mentally retarded … dumb Southerner.”
He made fun of H.R. McMaster’s huffy mannerisms and said he looked “like a beer salesman.”
He told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that he did not trust him in future negotiations: “I don’t want you doing any more negotiations. … You’re past your prime.”
Trump felt that his speech condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in response to media criticism was the “biggest fucking mistake I’ve made” and the “worst speech I’ve ever given.”
Trump called Rudy Giuliani “a baby” after one media segment in which he defended the president after the Access Hollywood tape was released.
Trump said, “I’ve never seen a worse defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You’re like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?”
Trump called former President Barack Obama a “weak dick” for failing to act in Syria.
Trump was pleased when Twitter expanded it’s character count to 280, but also said, “[I]t’s a bit of a shame because I was the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.”
The former staff secretary was forced out of the White House after his two ex-wives detailed physical and emotional abuse from his past marriages.
Porter appears to have cooperated with Woodward’s book and even spoke on the record.
“This was no longer a presidency. This is no longer a White House. This is a man being who he is,” he told Woodward.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon blasted Ivanka Trump when she failed to work within established White House protocols: “You’re a goddamn staffer! You walk around this place and act like you’re in charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!” he told Trump’s daughter.
Ivanka Trump replied: “I’m not a staffer! I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter.”
Former senior economic adviser Gary Cohn stole documents from Trump’s desk and worked with Staff Secretary Rob Porter to stall his interests on trade. He also threatened to resign after the president commented that there were good people on both sides during the Charlottesville riots. Cohn spoke with Woodward on the record for the book, detailing scenes that make him look like a hero.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly does not appear to have cooperated with the Woodward book, but there are plenty of embarrassing details:
Kelly cussed out the president with a group of staff. He said:
He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.
[Kelly denied this story in a statement to reporters: “The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true.”]
When Trump refused to accept Gary Cohn’s resignation, John Kelly told him, “I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his ass six different times.”
Trump said Priebus was “like a little rat. He just scurries around.”
Priebus called Trump’s bedroom the “devil’s workshop” where the president watched cable news and commented on Twitter.
Priebus said working at the White House was like a “zoo without walls.” … “When you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody.”
Lawyer John Dowd:
Dowd resigned in protest of Trump’s insistence that he testify during the Mueller investigation. The president also flunked a practice interview with White House lawyers which was a trial run of a possible interview with Mueller’s investigators.
Trump referred to the Mueller investigation as “a goddamn hoax” and raged that “everybody’s trying to get me.”
Dowd warned Trump that testifying was a mistake and even told Robert Mueller that he would not allow the president to testify.
He said, “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis:
Trump repeatedly grilled the country’s top military minds about foreign deployments of U.S. military power, challenging the status quo and upsetting many of the professionals.
Friends of Mattis say he referred to Trump as having the understanding of a “fifth or sixth grader” when it came to foreign policy.