Woodward: Mattis, Kelly denials of his book quotes untrue

Arturo Kim
September 10, 2018

"People who work for him are anxious. that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country, or of the world", he told CBS.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the essay "another example of the liberal media's concerted effort to discredit the president", in a statement Wednesday. It's entitled Fear, and it describes the "harrowing" management style of an unhinged and occasionally paranoid President Donald Trump, and includes numerous vignettes alleging specific quotes from senior White House staffers. That's great to finally hear from an insider, but anonymous isn't revealing something we don't already know about Trump.

"The White House, added Trump in another tweet, is a "'smooth running machine.' We are making some of the biggest and most important deals in our country's - with many more to come! In it he depicts an executive branch experiencing a "nervous breakdown".

Woodward, asked on Monday on NBC's "Today" show about their denials, said, "They are not telling the truth". "This is the worst job I've ever had". It hasn't worked. There is little reason to think Trump will be any more successful.

"The experts, 99.9 percent of people say, 'Don't do tariffs it doesn't work, ' he's got it in his head, and when people challenge him he'll say, 'Oh I've had those ideas for 30 years, you're wrong, '" Woodward said. "We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what's right even when Donald Trump won't", the piece reads.

Typifying the sense that what would once seem absurd now counts for normality in this White House, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was not the author of the op-ed which assailed Trump for "half baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless" leadership. "It's critical: Who is this person and why are they masking themselves in this way?" John McCain - do they suggest someone working in national security?

The book was based on hundreds of hours of conversations with direct players, according to the author.

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The Times' op-ed, while well-intentioned, is more problematic on at least two levels.

Hotly debated on Twitter was the author's use of the word "lodestar", which pops up frequently in speeches by Pence. But the notion that the op-ed was in any way treasonous is ludicrous. "Our office is above such amateur acts". In one of his September 5 tweets, Trump posted, "Does the so-called "Senior Administration Official' really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?"

"I wouldn't have used it", Woodward added of the Times opinion column during his first televised interview about his 19th book, Fear: Trump in the White House, which is scheduled for release on September 11. "This means that all the information could be used but I would not say who provided it". The op-ed pages of the newspaper are managed separately from its news department.

For his part, Trump has continued to refute the content of the book.

Bob Woodward speaks at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., in 2012, during an event marking the 40th anniversary of Watergate.

"We see the evidence of people stealing a presidential document off his desk", Kerry said, referencing Woodward's reporting.

The assertions in the column were largely in line with complaints about Trump's behavior that have repeatedly been raised by various administration officials, often speaking on the condition of anonymity. The criticism of Trump is on-point and damning, as it should be, as it has no other way to be for a President who surrounded himself with associates many of whom are now felons. "I would know. I am one of them".

Pence appeared to be arguing that by showing such disloyalty to the President and even whispering about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him, the "resistance" the op-ed writer mentions is subverting the democratic process. It requires that the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet back relieving the president.

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