Ahead of the release of an explosive new book about the White House from Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, President Trump threw his staff under the bus, complaining that they did not tell him that Woodward had requested an interview.
The Washington Post on Tuesday released an audio recording of an 11-minute conversation between Trump and Woodward in early August, with Trump calling Woodward after finding out that the manuscript for Fear: Trump in the White House had been finished. An excerpt from Woodward's book released Tuesday includes the claim that White House aides routinely hide papers from the president so that he doesn't sign them, reports that Chief of Staff John Kelly believes Trump is "unhinged," and quotes the president as saying his light denigration of neo-Nazis was his "biggest" mistake.
In the recording, Woodward says that he requested an interview with Trump through several White House officials, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, but that nobody ever got back to him. At one point, Conway comes into the room, and Trump asks her directly, "Why didn't you tell me?" Her response is not audible, but she eventually gets on the phone with Woodward herself and says that she "put in the request" and it was rejected. "I guess I can bring it right to the president next time," she admits. Trump later says Conway "should've come to me."
Woodward also tells Trump that he got in touch with White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah about an interview, prompting Trump to respond, "I don't speak to Raj." Trump also contradicts himself by conceding that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) did mention Woodward's book to him, despite previously asserting that "nobody" had told him about the book.