White House Denies John Kelly Called Trump an 'Idiot'

US President Donald Trump was not interviewed for the book

US President Donald Trump was not interviewed for the book

According to Woodward, Mattis told staff to ignore a tirade by Trump against Syria's president Bashar al-Assad in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in April 2017 and the U.S. president's alleged statement: "Let's fucking kill him!"

In his new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, Woodward says the president's legal team was so anxious about Trump sitting down with special counsel Robert Mueller, they held a mock interview session.

Mattis agreed with the president, and said he would "get right on it" according to the newspaper.

Fear, to be published on Tuesday by Simon Schuster, describes a White House racing toward a "nervous breakdown", where key aides have taken to removing papers from Mr Trump's desk to prevent unsafe policy decisions, and where senior figures, such as John Kelly, the chief of staff, refer to the president as an "idiot". The CNN political analyst and staunch Trump critic went so far as to demand White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's resignation after he allegedly called the president an "idiot" and said the job was "the worst I've ever had".

But Trump, concerned about the optics of a president refusing to testify and convinced that he could handle Mueller's questions, had by then decided otherwise.

And that seems unlikely to change with the September 11 publication by Simon & Schuster of Fear: Trump in the White House, a look at the current President and his administration from the legendary journalist and All the President's Men co-author. Woodward was largely responsible, along with his colleague Carl Bernstein for bringing down Richard Nixon's presidency by uncovering the Watergate scandal.

Woodward claims in the book that the president referred to his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as "mentally retarded", and White House chief of staff John Kelly called the president an "idiot" and "unhinged".

On the call, Trump sounded anxious, repeating his refrain that it would be a "bad" book for him, and that Woodward did not understand just how successful he had been in office.

Trump also called Sessions a "traitor" for recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe, which is led by special counsel Robert Mueller, and putting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge of oversight.

Bob Woodward's tell-all book has outraged the White House
ALEX BRANDON AP Bob Woodward's tell-all book has outraged the White House

Woodward writes that his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses, many of which were conducted on condition he would not reveal that they were the sources of the information.

Details from the book were published by the Washington Post on Tuesday. "I probably would have spoken to him if he'd called, if he'd gotten through". But, according to Woodward, Trump was not finished.

Mr Kelly's predecessor, Reince Priebus, describes the presidential bedroom suite as "the devil's workshop", where Mr Trump fires off intemperate tweets early in the morning and on weekends. He added, "He and I both know this story is total BS".

"Well, a lot of them are afraid to come and talk, or - you know, they are busy". For Woodward, it means putting almost a half-century of credibility covering eight presidents behind a vivid account he says is supported by scores of hours of recordings. "I've never seen a worse defense of me in my life".

Mr Dowd, in a statement, said "no so-called "practice session" or "re-enactment" took place, and denied saying that Mr Trump was likely to end up in an orange jumpsuit.

Donald Trump's supporters will say, not without cause, that Woodward epitomises the Washington establishment their man is fighting against.

They are quoted as calling him an "idiot" and a "liar".

Later, Trump himself joined in with a Twitter post that called the anecdotes circulating from the Woodward book "frauds, a con on the public".

We knew as well that, given the perpetual controversy over Woodward's deep-background sourcing, there would be the usual rollout of denials over the book's revelations. "I would certainly rather take the word of those two individuals than a couple of disgruntled former employees that are anonymously attacking the president trying to make him look bad for no other reason I guess than to build themselves up".

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