President Donald Trump said he was “tough as hell on people” but said his management style is effective as he sought to defend himself against the latest portrait of a tumultuous White House.
Trump’s comments in a tweet Wednesday appeared to concede at least some accuracy in the behind-the-scenes account of the Trump White House in investigative reporter Bob Woodward’s book “Fear.” Trump and his allies have sought to discredit the book since excerpts began to appear Tuesday portraying a mercurial, inept and untruthful president and a White House staff consumed by infighting.
“I’m tough as hell on people & if I weren’t, nothing would get done,” Trump said in the tweet. “Also, I question everybody & everything-which is why I got elected!”
Almost everyone agrees that my Administration has done more in less than two years than any other Administration in the history of our Country. I’m tough as hell on people & if I weren’t, nothing would get done. Also, I question everybody & everything-which is why I got elected!
Earlier in the morning appeared to continue his attacks on the book, though without naming Woodward.
“Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost,” Trump said in the earlier tweet.
The Washington Post published excerpts of “Fear” on Tuesday. The book, a deeply reported examination of the Trump presidency, portrays an administration consumed by brutal infighting and a president whose anger at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation can paralyze the West Wing for days at a time. Close advisers quietly maneuver to control Trump’s impulses and prevent political and national security disasters.
Woodward reports that Kelly frequently told colleagues he considered the president “unhinged,” according to the Post. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”Kelly denied that account.
“The idea I ever called the president an idiot is not true,” Kelly said in a statement distributed by the White House. “He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total B.S.”
The episode echoed an NBC report in October 2017 that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” after a meeting. Tillerson never denied making the statement and Trump later dismissed him.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday she would wait to review a full copy of Woodward’s book before determining whether it contained libel, while dismissing the reporting as "the same rehashed, retold stories."
"We’ll see what happens with the rest of the book," Sanders told reporters at the White House.
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