Yesterday, the first excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book on the Trump presidency rocked the political world. Among the saucy revelations were a handful pertaining to top staffers—Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly. From WaPo, on Kelly:
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. 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.”
There’s also this gem, from when Kelly commiserated with Gary Cohn, the former top economic adviser to Trump, after he tried to quit following the president’s mishandling of the Charlottesville rally:
“I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his ass six different times,” Kelly told Cohn, according to Woodward. Kelly himself has threatened to quit several times but has not done so.
Then there’s Mattis, who had some thoughts while Trump was attempting to bungle North Korea:
After Trump left the meeting, Woodward recounts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’?”
In Woodward’s telling, many top advisers were repeatedly unnerved by Trump’s actions and expressed dim views of him. “Secretaries of defense don’t always get to choose the president they work for,” Mattis told friends at one point, prompting laughter as he explained Trump’s tendency to go off on tangents about subjects such as immigration and the news media.
As it turns out, though…hold on, let me turn on my loudspeaker…THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
Bob Woodward, one of the most respected political journalists in American history, was just making things up. Or at least that’s what Mattis and Kelly said in the aftermath of the excerpts going public. Here are their statements, as tweeted out by Trump himself…which we’re sure is just a coincidence:
Statement from White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly: pic.twitter.com/LUN8cDr3N5— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
Statement from Secretary of Defense, James Mattis: pic.twitter.com/OneaxKCneV— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
Now, far be it from Paste to insinuate that these statements are among the most ridiculous denials in political history, that Trump clearly demanded them in a fit of rage, and that Mattis and Kelly are acting under duress in an desperate attempt to cover their asses and placate their unhinged master. And we definitely would not suggest that the timing and wording of these statements contribute to the creeping sense that we live in a banana republic under a dangerous megalomaniacal despot.
That’s not what we’re saying at all! We believe them, wholeheartedly and without reservation. Couldn’t be more legitimate. Fake news, and etc. etc.! Hear us, President Trump? We believe them, and you should let the nice men go back to their families. Hey, look, Fox & Friends is on in the other room! I heard they’re talking about how the media is very unfair to you, and showing copies of the electoral map. You should check it out! Go ahead. Nobody’s leaving. Go take a look…that’s it, go on…
James Mattis and John Kelly: We don’t have much time. Blink twice if you are in danger.