On Tuesday, The Washington Post published excerpts of the famed journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book on Donald Trump’s White House. The excerpts reveal a White House in turmoil: Several current and former administration officials and aides are quoted expressing a lack of confidence in the president. Most notably, Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has, up until now, maintained a relatively low profile, expressed a lack of confidence in Trump’s abilities to lead, comparing his understanding to that of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.” In a statement, Chief of Staff John Kelly denied that he had called Trump an “idiot,” saying, “He and I both know this story is total BS.”
Trump is also quoted in the book criticizing several of his top officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he refers to as “mentally retarded”; Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whom Trump told was “past your prime”; and former National-Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, whose choice in suits Trump compared to “a beer salesman.”
Below, a selection of quotes from Woodward’s forthcoming book.
Defense Secretary James Mattis
Following a contentious National Security Council meeting, Mattis told people close to him that the president had the understanding of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”