Key Woodward sources criticize Donald Trump depiction in book 'Fear'

By AFP | Washington

Updated: Sep 12, 2018, 08:38 IST

Still, Woodward's book has fed talk that Trump could seek to replace Kelly and Mattis. Asked about it Tuesday, Mattis said there is no problem in his relationship with Trump. It's been the same all along, he told journalists

Bob Woodward and Donald Trump. Pic/AFP

Washington, Sep 12 (AFP) Two apparent key sources for Bob Woodward's devastating new book on Donald Trump criticized the author's depiction of the president Tuesday, suggesting he distorted their accounts. Gary Cohn and Rob Porter both issued statements taking some issue with Woodward's description of Trump's White House in "Fear," which was released Tuesday, as a "Crazytown" where aides plot to thwart Trump's orders and keep him contained. Cohn, the former White House chief economic advisor, and ex-staff secretary Porter are portrayed as having worked together to prevent a poorly informed Trump from making unsound and potentially disastrous decisions involving national security and the economy.

"This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House," Cohn said in a statement he sent to the political news site Axios. "I am proud of my service in the Trump administration, and I continue to support the president and his economic agenda." Porter said he was "struck by the selective and often misleading portrait it paints of the president and his administration." He praised Trump's legislative accomplishments, which he said Woodward's book ignores, and said the president "invites robust discussion" from aides.

"But in the end, President Trump is the one who decides, and he has shown himself more than capable of doing so," Porter said. But neither Cohn nor Porter said specifically what was inaccurate, and neither denied speaking to Woodward. Porter did not contest having described his job as one third focused on steering the president away from dangerous ideas, and the White House as perpetually "walking along the edge of the cliff." Trump told journalists he "really" appreciated the pair's statements, which helped show that "the book is just a piece of fiction."

Other Trump aides, including chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis, have denied quotes attributed to them in the book -- quotes that ridicule Trump as "unhinged" and acting like a grade-school child. Still, Woodward's book has fed talk that Trump could seek to replace Kelly and Mattis. Asked about it Tuesday, Mattis said there is "no problem" in his relationship with Trump. "It's been the same all along," he told journalists.

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