Trump admits downplaying coronavirus danger 'to reduce panic'

Donald Trump calls generals serving under his administration a ‘bunch of p****ies’, bombshell new book claims

‘They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals,’ Mr Trump said

Danielle Zoellner@dani__zoellner
Wednesday 09 September 2020 22:31
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Donald Trump allegedly called the generals serving under his administration a “bunch of p****ies”, according to a new book.

An aide to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who left the White House in 2018 over differing opinions with the president, reportedly heard Mr Trump say, “my f***ing generals are a bunch of p***ies” when speaking to economic adviser Peter Navarro, CNN reported.

“They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals,” Mr Trump added.

General Mattis reportedly asked the aide to record that comment in an email, according to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in his new book Rage.

"I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid,” Gen Mattis said, according to the new book. He resigned after Mr Trump ordered the US to pull troops out of Syria and abandon the country’s partners in that region.

In the book, Gen Mattis reportedly said Mr Trump was “unfit” and “dangerous” as president and had “no moral compass”.

Some of the statements Gen Mattis made about the president were to then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. In one instance, Gen Mattis said, “The president has no moral compass”. Mr Coats responded, “True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”

Gen Mattis also warned his colleague that “there may come a time when we have to take collective action” against the president, according to the book. But it did not state what “collective action" would mean.

Mr Woodward also described Mr Coats’ time with the Trump administration, he left in August 2019, as a rocky one. Mr Coats, a former Indiana senator, was brought into the administration by Vice President Mike Pence, who previously served as the state’s governor.

According to Mr Woodward’s book, Mr Coats and his top staff members "examined the intelligence as carefully as possible," when looking into the president’s relationship with Russia. 

"Coats saw how extraordinary it was for the president's top intelligence official to harbor such deep suspicions about the president's relationship with Putin. But he could not shake them,” Mr Woodward wrote. 

Marsha Coats, Mr Coats’ wife, also recounted a conversation she had with Mr Pence in which he urged her to “stay the course.”

“I just looked at him, like, how are you stomaching this?” she said, according to Mr Woodward. “I just looked at him like, this is horrible. I mean, we made eye contact. I think he understood. And he just whispered in my ear, ‘Stay the course.’”

When Mr Coats was considering resigning over Russia, it was the vice president who urged him to stay on for longer, telling him to “look on the positive side of things that he’s done. More attention on that. You can’t go.”

Besides expressing frustration with his generals, Mr Trump also reportedly criticised military leaders when speaking to Mr Woodward. The president was asked about his leaders believing that NATO and other alliances with countries like South Korea were worthwhile for the US.

"I wouldn't say they were stupid, because I would never say that about our military people," Mr Trump said. "But if they said that, they — whoever said that was stupid."

The president has long pushed an “America first” mentality, stating that allies have previously taken advantage of the US.

Mr Woodward’s latest book was compiled from 18 separate interviews with the president between December 2019 into July 2020, each of which were recorded. He also spoke with current and former officials. 

Besides talking about his generals and foreign relations, Mr Trump also spook to the journalist about the coronavirus pandemic, race relations in America, and the country’s relationship with North Korea. 

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