President Donald Trump fired back at Bob Woodward and his anti-Trump book Tuesday by posting several statements from members of his cabinet denying events portrayed by the iconic journalist.
What did Defense Secretary Mattis say?
The president posted the statements from his official Twitter account, including one from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
"The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence," Mattis wrote. "While I generally enjoy reading fictions, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility."
Woodward claimed in his book that Mattis had complained of the president that his understanding was equivalent that of "a fifth- or sixth-grader."
"While response policy making in the real world is inherently messy," Mattis added, "it is also essential that we challenge every assumption to find the best option."
"In serving in this administration," Mattis concludes, "the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination."
What did John Kelly have to add?
Trump posted another statement from White House chief of staff John Kelly.
"The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true," Kelly wrote, "in fact it's exactly the opposite."
Kelly repeated a statement he made in May about the report that he insulted the president.
"I spend more time with the President than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship," he said. "He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS. I'm committed to the President, his agenda, and our country."
Woodward claimed in his book that Kelly called the president an idiot and added in frustration, "It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown."
What about these quotes?
Trump added a comment from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
"This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad," she said.
The president concluded that the statements refuted Woodward's book, and noted the "timing" of the release, though it was unclear what he meant by that.
"The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly," the president tweeted.
The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retar… https://t.co/YJFhVgFSY0— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1536116503.0
"Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public," he added. "Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?"
Here's the CBS report on Trump's refutation of Woodward's book:
Brit Hume of Fox News summed up the state of knowledge about Woodward's book after the statements dropped.
"The denials from Kelly, [former Trump lawyer John] Dowd, Mattis are pretty explicit and direct," tweeted Hume. "Bob Woodward’s sources are, as always, anonymous so we may never know who’s right."