Donald Trump is the opposite. To know him is to hate him.
- Former Defense Secretary James Mattis: After briefing Trump on a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea, Mattis — a four-star Marine general — is reported to have said, “the President acted like — and had the understanding of — a ‘fifth or sixth grader.'” Mattis has denied that he made this statement.
- Gary Cohn, former chair of Trump’s National Economic Council, called Trump “a professional liar.” Cohn has denied Woodward’s claims.
- Former White House chief of staff — and another Marine general — John Kelly called the Trump White House “crazytown,” and is reported to have called his boss “unhinged,” “off the rails,” and “an idiot.” Kelly denied that he called the President an idiot and called Woodward’s book “B.S.”
- Veteran attorney and former Trump lawyer John Dowd told Woodward of a practice session of questions and answers with Trump, as if Dowd were Mueller. Dowd’s conclusion? Trump is “a f—ing liar.” Dowd has denied this claim.
- Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who rose to CEO of Exxon-Mobil, reportedly concluded his boss was “a moron.” Tillerson didn’t confirm or deny that he made the claim. But he later told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer Trump is “a man who’s undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things…” This sometimes led Trump to demand actions that were not legal, Tillerson told Schieffer.
Apparently the major river flowing through Washington is not the Potomac, it’s Denial. Back in my days in the Clinton White House, Woodward quoted me saying unkind (but hilarious) things about some of my colleagues. But I didn’t even try to deny saying them. You know why? ‘Cause I said them. I suspect these folks did as well.
That may be. But it’s also true that a whole lot of the people who know Donald Trump best have thrown him under the bus.