Sims told me that he and the president have spoken since he left the White House, but declined to share details of their conversation.
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Even though Sims’s book doesn’t hit stores until tomorrow, many outlets have published excerpts in the past week. I asked him how those named in the book have reacted to their portrayals. “The people inside aren’t really talking to me,” he said.
I asked Sims how publishing his book was any different from, say, Conway leaking details of private meetings to reporters. Those sorts of “selective leaks,” he argued, “are designed to sway things one way or the other … paint people in an unfair light.” His book, he maintained, presents scenes in their “proper context.” “I did use some discernment on like, ‘Is this fair?’ and I don’t—I can’t really say what the criteria for that was—it’s more like a gut thing.”
Sims said he’s aware that President Trump might tweet a blistering take on him personally. “That’s something I’ve thought a lot about … like how that would affect my life,” he said. “Number one, though, my identity is not wrapped up in being a Trump staffer … My identity is found in, you know, my faith, and I know who Jesus says I am. So if Trump wants to say I’m something else, then that’s—that’s okay.
“Like, I’m not saying—I don’t want the president to tweet, you know, something super negative about me. You know, it’ll suck,” he said. “But my identity is not wrapped up in this stuff anymore.”
As for the future, Sims told me that he’s considered everything from going to graduate school to becoming a missionary overseas. He said that he and his wife are in the process of adopting a baby from Colombia.
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Though he’s “deeply conflicted” about it, he also said that he’s toying with the idea of running for office. He reminded me with a shrug that Senator Doug Jones, in Alabama, is up for reelection in 2020, and that he would be old enough to challenge him.
“I do think what Washington is lacking are people whose identity is not wrapped up in Washington. And so that makes me want to do it sometimes,” he said.
Because Trump’s imprint, he seemed to suggest, is still very much on him. In spite of it all, he does not think of his White House experience, like Kelly, as “the worst f—ing job” he’s ever had. In fact, Sims said, if he were to ever run for office, his former boss would probably serve as a guidepost. “I mean, it would be like a very Trumpian approach. Like, I’m going to go blow things up for four or eight years or whatever.” He laughed. “I feel like that sometimes.”