New book by Woodward says Trump wanted Syrian leader killed

07 September, 2018, 16:17 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
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The President has tweeted twice about the new book, writing: 'The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly.

American defence secretary Jim Mattis is quoted in the book as telling associates that Mr Trump acted like, and has the understanding of, "a fifth or sixth-grader".

After the April 2017 chemical attack blamed on Bashar al-Assad, Woodward claims Trump called the Pentagon chief to press for the Syrian leader's assassination.

Mattis told Trump he would "get right on it", but instead developed a plan for a limited air strike that did not threaten Assad personally, according to the excerpts.

However, Mr Mattis said of his portrayal: "The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence". He's gone off the rails.

The book is scheduled for official launch on Sept 11.

On accounts in the book that senior aides snatched sensitive documents off his desk to keep him from making impulsive decisions, Mr. Trump told The Daily Caller, "There was nobody taking anything from me".

The writer, one of a duo with Carl Bernstein whose reporting for the Post on the Watergate scandal brought down president Richard Nixon, has published powerful and often embarrassing insider books on presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The president, speaking at an event with sheriffs at the White House, called the op-ed a "disgrace" and "gutless".

"He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS", he said.

GREENE: I just want to listen to a little more of that phone call between Woodward and the president here.


The Times' Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman reported that a list of about six names had been crafted by aides, who suspected the writer worked in the administration but not at the White House specifically.

Trump says he would have liked to speak with Woodward and he says it sounds like it will be a "negative" book.

"The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle", Trump tweeted. (I told you this was an wonderful phone call!) Conway, with Trump listening, says this: "I put in the request". And it's - you know, it's a tough look at the world and your administration and you. It also says he called Mr. Trump an "idiot", an account Mr. Kelly denied Tuesday.

"This is what we have to deal with", Trump said.

Regarding the fraught relationship between the president and his chief of staff, the Post reported Woodward found that Kelly "frequently lost his temper" over Trump, and that he thought the president was "unhinged".

Mattis says in the statement: "While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility".

In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

"The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States", the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement.

Woodward's book has been anticipated for weeks, and current and former White House officials estimate that almost all their colleagues cooperated with the famed Watergate journalist.

"When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons", the president told reporters during a White House photo opp with a group of county sheriffs from across the nation.

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