Woodward: Draft Trump tweet alarmed Pentagon officials

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward on Sunday described an incident in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE once drafted a tweet that North Korea would have read as a warning of an imminent U.S. attack. 

"[Trump] drafts a tweet saying, 'We are going to pull our dependents from South Korea — family members of the 28,000 people there,' " Woodward said during an interview with CBS.


"At that moment, there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that 'my God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as an attack is imminent,' " Woodward said.

Explosive excerpts from Woodward's upcoming book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," have emerged throughout the week, documenting a chaotic White House in which staffers regularly attempt to act against the wishes of their boss. The excerpts prompted backlash from Trump and White House officials seeking to downplay claims of a dysfunctional White House.

In another anecdote published by The Washington Post, Woodward reports a conversation between Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAllies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump nominates ambassador to Turkey MORE during which the president suggested assassinating Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Mattis appeared to agree with Trump and then told other national security officials to disregard the proposal, Woodward reported.

"People who work for him are worried that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or financial security of the country or the world," Woodward said on CBS. 

In another account from the book, former chief economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnChristie: Trump doesn’t give nicknames to people he respects On The Money: Congress pivots to prevent another shutdown | Trump hits Venezuelan oil company with sanctions | US criminal charges filed against Huawei | Next round of China trade talks set | Forecasts raise doubt on Trump’s economic goals Gary Cohn joked about sending Trump to help Brexit talks: report MORE and former White House staff secretary Rob Porter stole trade agreement documents off of Trump's desk out of fear that he would sign them and roil international markets.

Woodward, who has written extensively about nine White Houses, said Trump's behavior is unprecedented.

"In the eight other [administrations], I have never heard of people on the staff in the White House engaging in that kind of extreme action," Woodward said. 

Trump and his confidants have sought to discredit Woodward's book as a fictional account of the White House's inner workings.