Woodward: Draft Trump tweet alarmed Pentagon officials

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward on Sunday described an incident in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 MattisOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Mattis dismisses reports of his exit: 'I love it here' Publisher says Woodward book sales largest in its history 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 CohnCohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president On The Money: Trump announces new China tariffs | Wall Street salaries hit highest level since 2008 | GOP bets the House on the economy Financial policymakers must be suffering from amnesia 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.