Famed reporter Bob Woodward on Monday said top Trump administration officials who claim they weren’t accurately quoted in his new tell-all book about the Trump presidency are “not telling the truth.”
White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis have denied making the incendiary comments about President Donald Trump attributed to them in Fear: Trump in the White House, slated for release Tuesday. But Woodward said they’re only trying to save face.
“These are political statements to protect their jobs ― totally understandable,” Woodward said on NBC’s “Today.” He said his book “is as carefully done as you can do an excavation of the reality of what goes on.”
In Fear, Woodward’s 19th book, Kelly and Mattis are named as two of several senior current and former Trump administration officials who mock the president’s mental capacity and express concerns about his ability to lead.
Trump is “an idiot,” Woodward wrote Kelly said, according to The Washington Post. “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.”
Woodward, famously one of the two reporters who unearthed the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post during the Nixon administration, also wrote that Mattis described Trump’s level of understanding as that of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
Both men publicly denied making such comments.
Trump, who once praised Woodward’s work on Twitter, has repeatedly attacked the veteran journalist on the social media platform in recent weeks, as he often does with coverage he doesn’t find flattering.
On Monday, he called Woodward “a liar who is like a Dem operative prior to the Midterms” in a tweet citing the “Today” show.
Trump also attacked the book as “a Joke ― just another assault against me, in a barrage of assaults.”
“I’ll write the real book!” he added.