Veteran reporter Bob Woodward said a top Trump administration official called him last week and told him that his new tell-all book on the Trump presidency is “1,000-percent correct.”
Woodward, in an interview that aired Tuesday on The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast, continued to reject President Donald Trump’s claims that Fear: Trump in the White House is full of “lies and phony sources.”
“One key person who’s in office called me and said, ‘Everyone knows what you said here is true. It’s 1,000-percent correct.’ And then this person has said some public things that contradict that,” Woodward, who did not name the official, told the Times’ Michael S. Schmidt.
Fear, which hit bookstores on Tuesday, paints a harrowing picture of the chaos within the White House, and tells how senior Trump administration officials attempt to rein in the president’s worst impulses.
Woodward said Monday that several current and former Trump administration officials were “not telling the truth” when they denied quotes attributed to them in Fear, including White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“These are political statements to protect their jobs ― totally understandable,” Woodward said of the denials on NBC’s “Today.” He said his book “is as carefully done as you can do an excavation of the reality of what goes on.”
In one particularly shocking passage, Woodward wrote that chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and White House staff secretary Rob Porter, before their ousters from the administration, stole documents off Trump’s desk in the Oval Office so he couldn’t sign them.
“They realized that [these documents] would endanger the country,” Woodward said. Cohn and Porter got away with it because Trump “doesn’t remember. If it’s not on his desk, if it’s not immediately available for action, it goes away.”
Cohn didn’t deny the eyebrow-raising anecdote in a statement to Axios on Tuesday.
“This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House,” Cohn said in the statement. “I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration, and I continue to support the President and his economic agenda.”
Porter, in a statement to Axios, called Woodward’s book “misleading”:
Having now read Bob Woodward’s Fear, I am struck by the selective and often misleading portrait it paints of the President and his administration.
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. 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.
It was also my responsibility to help ensure that relevant viewpoints were considered, that pros and cons were evaluated, that policy proposals were thoroughly vetted, and that the President could make decisions based on full information. Fulfilling this responsibility does not make someone part of a “resistance” or mean they are seeking to “thwart” the President’s agenda. Quite the opposite.
President Trump invites robust discussion and asks probing questions. He has the confidence to allow advisors to disagree with a proposed course of action and advocate for an alternative outcome—and I sometimes did just that. But in the end, President Trump is the one who decides, and he has shown himself more than capable of doing so.
During my time in the White House, I sought to serve the President’s best interests and to help enable his many successes—successes that Mr. Woodward’s book ignores.
President Trump’s accomplishments are undeniable: significant tax relief to spur economic growth, rolling back burdensome regulations to unleash job creators, remaking the federal judiciary to uphold the Constitution, and much more.
This article has been updated to include Porter’s statement.