Breaking News

Donald Trump Jr. Complains His Father Is Served by Few He Can Trust

Category: Political News,Politics

WASHINGTON — President Trump, a commander in chief with a well-known bunker mentality, has long doubted the ability of his aides to protect him from outside attacks. But his anxiety about whom he can trust has only increased in the days since anonymous administration members — a number of them in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” and one in an opinion piece published in The New York Times — laid out in stark detail concerns about his volatile personality and doubts about his ability to lead.

This is all according to one of the few people who still has the president’s confidence: a family member.

“I think there are people in there that he can trust,” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, said of the Trump White House in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “I just think it’s a much smaller group than I would like it to be.”

But public denials — however nonspecific — from aides that they were the ones speaking out against him seem to have momentarily buoyed the president.

As Hurricane Florence headed toward the East Coast on Tuesday, Mr. Trump praised the statements given by two former aides that offered objections to the way Mr. Woodward characterized life in the White House — but not outright denials that they had spoken to him.

In a briefing held in the Oval Office about the storm, Mr. Trump sat in front of weather charts and lauded the statements by Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary, and Gary D. Cohn, the president’s former top economic adviser, both of whom are featured prominently in the book.

“Well, you shouldn’t be talking about that right now because it doesn’t matter,” Mr. Trump said to a reporter, “but I really appreciate their statement. Their statement was excellent.”

The statements followed a spate of similar denials last week from administration officials such as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that they were the anonymous senior administration official who wrote the Op-Ed in The Times. Mr. Trump has repeatedly mentioned to aides that he has been pleased with the statements, according to a White House official familiar with his thinking, particularly one from Jim Mattis, the defense secretary.

But neither Mr. Cohn nor Mr. Porter denied speaking with Mr. Woodward, a journalist known for keeping meticulous notes and recording his interviews, and both denials were relatively nonspecific about what the book contained.

“This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House,” Mr. Cohn said in his statement about the book to the website Axios. “I am proud of my service in the Trump administration, and I continue to support the president and his economic agenda.”

But he did not mention one of the most explosive accounts in the book, one in which he was the primary participant. He is described as pilfering a letter from Mr. Trump’s desk that the president had planned to sign and that would have withdrawn the United States from a trade deal with South Korea. Mr. Woodward wrote that Mr. Cohn told a colleague that he had to “protect the country.”

Hours after Mr. Cohn’s statement, the one from Mr. Porter — longer and more specific about the episode involving the letter, but also lacking any denial about speaking to Mr. Woodward — hit email inboxes across Washington.

“As staff secretary, I was responsible for managing the flow of documents to and from the Oval Office and ensuring that anything the president was asked to sign had been properly vetted,” Mr. Porter said. “The suggestion that materials were ‘stolen’ from the president’s desk to prevent his signature misunderstands how the White House document review process works — and has worked for at least the last eight administrations.”

The president himself has denied that the documents were removed from the desk. “There was nobody taking anything from me,” he said in an interview last week with The Daily Caller.

Mr. Woodward has repeatedly defended his reporting.


Source link

No comments