“I consider it a work of fiction,” Trump told reporters about the book authored by Michael Wolff, who concedes some sources were “definitely lying to him.”
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
President Donald Trump felt compelled Saturday to let the world know he’s playing with all his marbles and is among the sharpest cookies around. It was the latest pushback against a new book that portrays him as a leader who doesn’t understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides.
“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump tweeted from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, a few hours before a strategy session on the 2018 legislative agenda with Republican congressional leaders and Cabinet members.
And when Trump addressed reporters later, the Ivy League graduate was ready for the question.
“I went to the best colleges,” said Trump, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. “I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out, made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people, went to television and for 10 years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard, ran for president one time and won.”
A work of fiction?
His ire was directed at Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” The book draws a derogatory portrait of the 45th president as an undisciplined man-child who didn’t actually want to win the White House, and who spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the telephone to old friends.
The book also quotes Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and other prominent advisers as questioning the president’s competence.
“I consider it a work of fiction,” Trump told reporters, then bemoaned the country’s “very weak” libel laws.
“I don’t know this man,” Trump said of the author. “I guess sloppy Steve brought him in the White House quite a bit and it was one of those things. That’s why sloppy Steve is now looking for a job.”
In one of his morning tweets, the president said critics are “taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence.”
He said his journey from “VERY successful businessman,” to reality TV star to president on his first try “would qualify as not smart, but genius …. and a very stable genius at that!”
Reagan died in 2004, at age 93, from pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer’s disease that had progressively clouded his mind. At times when he was president, Reagan seemed forgetful and would lose his train of thought while talking.
Doctors, however, said Alzheimer’s was not to blame, noting the disease was diagnosed years after he left office. Reagan announced his diagnosis in a letter to the American people in 1994, more than five years after leaving the White House.
Reliability of sources questioned
Michael Wolff acknowledged in an author’s note that he wasn’t certain all of its content was true, Business Insider (BI) reported. In fact, he included a note at the beginning that “casts significant doubt on the reliability of the specifics contained in the rest of its pages,” BI said.
“Several of his sources, he says, were definitely lying to him, while some offered accounts that flatly contradicted those of others,” according to BI.
Getting around the hostile press
Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who has tried to bring order to a chaotic White House, said he had not seen the tweets until reporters showed them to him just before Trump spoke. But he said that Trump didn’t appear angry Friday or Saturday. “I thought he would be, frankly,” Kelly said.
As for the tweets: “He feels he can go around the press and get his perspective out by tweeting,” explained Kelly. “That’s kind of why he does it.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week called such suggestions “disgraceful and laughable.”
“If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there and wouldn’t have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen,” she said, calling him “an incredibly strong and good leader.”