Woodward book puts White House back in damage-control mode

Woodward book puts White House back in damage-control mode, by Zeke Miller.

An incendiary tell-all book by a reporter who helped bring down President Richard Nixon set off a firestorm in the White House on Tuesday, with its descriptions of current and former aides calling President Donald Trump an “idiot” and a “liar,” disparaging his judgment and claiming they plucked papers off his desk to prevent him from withdrawing from a pair of trade agreements.

The book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward is the latest to throw the Trump administration into damage-control mode with explosive anecdotes and concerns about the commander in chief. The Associated Press obtained a copy of “Fear: Trump in the White House” on Tuesday, a week before its official release.

Trump decried the quotes and stories in the book on Twitter as “frauds, a con on the public,” adding that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly had denied uttering quoted criticisms of the president in the book. …

The publication of Woodward’s book has been anticipated for weeks, and current and former White House officials estimate that nearly all their colleagues cooperated with the famed Watergate journalist.

The White House, in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, dismissed the book as “nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad.” …

The book recounts that Mattis told “close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’”

Mattis said in a statement, “The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence.”

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Rob Manning, said Mattis was never interviewed by Woodward.

“Mr. Woodward never discussed or verified the alleged quotes included in his book with Secretary Mattis” or anyone within the Defense Department, Manning said.