Everyone in the Trump White House thinks everyone else is stupid — and that's putting it lightly.
President Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and pretty much everyone else at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. slung insults and hatred on the daily, per anecdotes included in Bob Woodward's forthcoming book, Fear. The book, which was obtained by The Washington Post, also reveals that Trump called deriding white supremacists after the deadly Charlottesville protests in 2017 a "mistake."
Fear is based on documents and hundreds of hours of interviews with anonymous aides and officials, the Post notes — though it includes no comments from Trump himself. It notably describes former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn's growing contempt of the president, which came to a head when Trump condemned "both sides" for violence at the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which was met with counterprotesters.
Per Fear, Trump told aides that his light condemnation of neo-Nazis was the "biggest f---ing mistake I've made." Cohn reportedly tried to resign after Trump's "both sides" remark, but Trump convinced him to stay on, Woodward reveals. Kelly was apparently similarly disgusted with Trump's response and told Cohn he would've "shoved [a resignation letter] up [Trump's] ass six different times." Kelly has threatened to quit what he's called "the worst job I've ever had" several times, Woodward reports, and reportedly declared Trump an "idiot" in charge of a White House dubbed "Crazytown."
Other reporting in Fear quotes Trump calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded," and says the president wanted to "f---ing kill" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reportedly summed up the whole White House as putting "a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls," so things naturally "start getting nasty and bloody."
Read more from Fear at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk
Update 3:33 p.m. ET: The White House offered a response to Woodward's reporting and also shared a statement from Kelly denying that he'd called Trump an "idiot." Read both below.
The White House responds to the Woodward book, calling it “nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees.” (There is also a long list of admin accomplishments, including economic, foreign policy, and SCOTUS) pic.twitter.com/ab1YxEh2uC
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) September 4, 2018