Trump and several members of his cabinet have now publicly denied that they ever said the quotes included in Bob Woodward's book "Fear: Trump in the White House."
Trump swears he never called Attorney General Jeff Session "retarded" and a "dumb southerner," while Chief of Staff John Kelly denies that he called Trump an "idiot" and Secretary of Defense James Mattis denies that he said Trump has the understanding of a "fifth grader."
I believe they all said these things and apparently Trump does too as CNN reports that he's embarking a real witch hunt to find out who talked.
As the President publicly fumes on Twitter, he's privately on a mission to determine who did -- and didn't -- talk to Woodward, CNN has learned. Two officials who have spoken directly to the President say he is pleased with the denials offered by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
In Trump's eyes, what makes or breaks aides who are reported to have made disparaging comments about him is how strongly they push back on the accusations. [...]
"He wants to know who talked to Woodward," one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity amid the highly tense atmosphere in the West Wing in the wake of the book.
Perhaps paradoxically (or perhaps not) Vanity Fair reports that Trump is also angry because he personally did not get a chance to talk to Bob Woodward.
Two sources told me Trump is furious at the portions of the book that describe administration officials questioning his intelligence and emotional stability. Woodward reports that Chief of Staff John Kelly called Trump “an idiot” and the West Wing “Crazytown”; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis compared Trump to a “fifth- or sixth-grader”; and Trump’s former personal lawyer called Trump a “fucking liar” who would end up in “an orange jumpsuit” if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller. [...]
Sources also said Trump blames the White House communications staff and Kellyanne Conway for not bringing Woodward’s interview requests to him. “I’m just hearing about it. So we’re going to have a very inaccurate book,” Trump told Woodward in a phone call last month, a transcript of which the Post published yesterday. (Whether aides in fact failed to tell Trump about Woodward’s interview requests is unclear. Conway declined to comment.)
If it were anyone else these two stories may seem contradictory, but in Trump's case this all checks out.
Trump is more than happy to talk to the Enemy of the People, and he always has been, as long as they're only afforded his (lies) side of the story.