Some of U.S. President Donald Trump’s top aides see him as an “idiot” or a child, according to a forthcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward.
According to the Washington Post, the book claims that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the president acted like “a fifth- or sixth-grader,” and John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, called him an “idiot,” adding that it was pointless to try to convince him of anything.
Kelly on Tuesday denied the claims he called Trump an “idiot,” which other media outlets had previously reported. The White House said in a statement that Woodward’s book “is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad.”
Woodward, one of the journalists who helped uncover the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, also wrote that Trump referred to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “mentally retarded” and wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to a transcript of a phone conversation between Woodward and Trump, published by the Washington Post, Trump repeatedly claimed his staff hadn’t told him about the journalist’s request for an interview for the book, which is entitled “Fear.”