Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

Aides ‘appalled’ as Trump questions U.S. security policy on Korea, book says

Aides ‘appalled’ as Trump questions U.S. security policy on Korea, book says

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. He quotes Chief of Staff John Kelly as describing the president as "unhinged" and "an idiot", allegedly saying in a group meeting that they were all in "Crazytown".

But even if Woodward doesn't break ground in conceptual terms, he does provide damning new evidence to buttress what we already know - that after more than 18 months in office, Trump is just as unqualified as ever to be president. "Well, accurate is that nobody's ever done a better job than I'm doing as President".

Trump called his former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus "a little rat" who "scurries around" the White House.

Donald Trump treated top aides with scorn, the book says, telling Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that he was past his prime and calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded". "He's this dumb Southerner", Trump said, affecting an exaggerated Southern accent. "Let's go in." Mattis assured Trump he would get right on it but then told a senior aide they'd do nothing of the kind, Woodward wrote.

Trump's former lawyer in the Russian Federation probe, John Dowd, is also said to have doubted Trump's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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The White House issued a statement on Tuesday saying: "This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad".

Woodward's book includes the claim that Mattis said Trump's understanding of North Korea was that of a "fifth or sixth grader".

Defense Secretary James Mattis and former economic advisor Gary Cohn are among aides actively circumventing Trump's orders and even stealing documents off his desk, according to Woodward.

Woodward also said he put in a request through White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, but never heard back.

Some of what Woodward reports has always been rumoured in Washington, but he appears to have nailed down the evidence showing that Trump had to be talked out of pulling United States troops out of South Korea and Afghanistan, planning a preventive strike against North Korea, assassinating Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and tearing up the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S. -Korea Free Trade Agreement. The Washington Post, where Woodward has been a writer and editor for decades, obtained a copy of the 448-page Simon & Schuster book, and published a report on it today. The freaky silence suggests that even if Woodward's account is not fully accurate, this White House is too dysfunctional and disorganized to quickly rebut explosive, firsthand claims of incompetence on two of the country's biggest media platforms. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

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Another book, another round of sensational claims about the Trump White House.

"Let's f-king kill him!"

Since he took office, Mattis has repeatedly batted down to reporters the notion that he is out of step with President Trump.

Kelly denied the reported quote in a statement Tuesday.

She said people should take what is written in books about the president with "a grain of salt". Trump even complained about the military spending involved in joint exercises and other activities aimed at maintaining a strong presence on the Korean Peninsula.

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"John, I understand", Mueller replied, according to Woodward, but insisted, "I need the president's testimony".

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