Trump: Mattis, Kelly ‘insulted’ by Woodward’s ‘work of fiction’

Trump: Mattis, Kelly ‘insulted’ by Woodward’s ‘work of fiction’
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE on Wednesday renewed his attack on veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book detailing the inner workings of the White House, calling it a “work of fiction.”

“The book means nothing. It's a work of fiction ... He likes to get publicity, sell some books,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with the emir of Kuwait.

Trump has spent the past two days going after the new book from Woodward, who helped break the Watergate story that brought down the Nixon presidency in the 1970s.


Woodward wrote about specific instances during the Trump administration, quoting Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid It’s long past time to tie the president’s hands Mattis warns of Russian meddling in Macedonia's bid for NATO: report MORE slamming Trump’s understanding of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE calling the president an “idiot.” 

Both officials have released statements denying the remarks in the book.

“[Mattis] was insulted by the remarks that were attributed to him and he came out with a very strong statement. I assume you read it, I hope you read it last night," Trump said Wednesday.

"Gen. John Kelly, the same exact thing. He said he was insulted by what it said. He's right here. He's insulted by it, he couldn't believe what they said, and he put out a very strong statement,” Trump added.

The president also claimed that Woodward had put out false information in books about past presidents, though Woodward has been praised in recent days from staffers of past administrations for his work.

“I've been on the receiving end of a Bob Woodward book. There were quotes in it I didn't like. But never once - never - did I think Woodward made it up," Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush, tweeted Tuesday.

"Anonymous sources have looser lips and may take liberties. But Woodward always plays is [sic] straight. Someone told it to him,” Fleischer added.

Paul Begala, a counselor to former President Clinton, agreed with Fleischer.

During his comments Wednesday, Trump also claimed that the release of Woodward's book was timed to coincide with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

“It was put out to interfere, in my opinion, at this time to interfere with the Kavanaugh hearings, which I don't think it's done,” he said. 

However, Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Woodward's book, announced its September release date at the end of July before Kavanaugh’s hearing dates were set.

Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” is set to be released Tuesday.