U.S. President Donald Trump and aides on Sunday heaped scorn on a new book detailing his chaotic first year in the White House and suggestions that he is not mentally fit to be the U.S. leader.
Trump, in a Twitter comment, said, “I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.”
Trump’s ire was aimed at journalist Michael Wolff, who, based on 200 interviews with Trump and numerous of his aides, described a dysfunctional White House in his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, released Friday.
Trump said that three decades ago, another Republican president, Ronald Reagan, was also faced with stories questioning his mental acuity “and handled it well. So will I!”
Stephen Miller, Trump’s top policy adviser, assailed Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon for comments in the book alleging that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, now a key White House adviser, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort were “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for meeting in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign with Russians claming to have incriminating information about Trump’s challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Miller on CNN described Bannon as an “angry, vindictive person” whose “grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality.” Miller said the “whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments” in the book.
Miller said the Wolff book “is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book. …The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper abruptly ended the interview with Miller, calling him “obsequious” and concerned only about pleasing “one viewer,” Trump.
A short time later, Trump tweeted, “Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!”
Two other Trump administration officials, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo also expressed support for Trump’s performance on Sunday news talk shows, a day after the U.S. leader described himself as “a very stable genius.”
Haley told ABC News that based on her once-a-week visits to the White House, “No one disrespects the president.” Pompeo told Fox News, “I have watched him take the information that the intelligence community delivers and translate that into policies that are of enormous benefit to America.”
Bannon has not disputed quotes Wolff attributed to him in the book but on Sunday voiced some regret over his role.
He told the Axios news site: “Donald Trump Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”
Bannon, who returned to Breitbart News, an alt-right website with nationalist views, after leaving the White House, also avowed his continuing support for Trump.
“My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda,” Bannon said, “as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama.
“I regret that my delay,” he added, “in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
Trump has claimed that he “authorized Zero Access” to Wolff at the White House to do his research for the book.
But Wolff told NBC that the president, personally, if reluctantly, allowed him to roam the corridors of the White House and conduct interviews with his aides, at one point saying, “Who cares about a book?”
But by Sunday, two days after its release, Fire and Fury was the top-selling book on the Amazon online retail site.