- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Donald Trump has gone into high gear over a book penned by Washington insider Bob Woodward, taking to Twitter to point out the many members of his administration who’ve slammed the work as a nothingburger filled with fabricated quotes.

It’s true, John Kelly and Jim Mattis — both men of honor who’ve not been outed, even by this vicious anti-Trump media, as liars — both dispute facets of the book.

“The idea I ever called the [p]resident an idiot is not true, in fact it’s exactly the opposite,” said Chief of Staff Kelly, in a written statement. “As I stated back in May and still firmly stand behind: ‘I spend more time with the [p]resident than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS. I’m committed to the [p]resident, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”

Trump sent that statement around his Twitter feed, along with another from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Mattis wrote, in part: “The contemptuous words about the [p]resident attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence. While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

Trump weighed in with his own words as well.

“The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by … Mattis and … Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public,” Trumptweeted. “Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”

And this: “The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions ‘mentally retarded’ and a ‘dumb southerner.’ I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. [Woodward] made this up to divide!”

Woodward, in his “Fear: Trump in the White House,” describes this administration in a state of total panic, with aides running about, chaotically trying to control this president’s out-of-whack impulses and soothe his nervous-nelly paranoia about special counsel Robert Mueller.

Amazon buyers are loving it; the book showcased at No. 1.

And among its pages include accounts of Trump mocking Sessions and his accent; Trump’s mocking of former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his penchant for dressing “like a beer salesman”; and Trump mocking former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as “a little rat,” according to excerpts published by The Washington Post and The Hill.

Then there were pages about the supposed behind-the-scenes discussions between Trump and Mattis — where the former allegedly suggested to the latter the assassination of Syria President Bashar Assad — and about other presidential conversations on foreign and domestic policy.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls the sourcing weak, and says the book is “nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad.”

The mainstream media, however, has seized upon the work as proof positive of what its members have been clamoring all along — that Trump is unfit to serve as America’s commander-in-chief, and that his White House is nothing but a chaotic mess, in need of adult supervision.

Here’s the thing, though: If Trump is so unfit, if his administration is so disheveled and disorganized, how come so many Americans are employed?

How come so many businesses are flocking back to the United States, offering up employees bonuses?

How come the rates of employment for blacks, for Hispanics, for women are on decided upswings, hitting at historic highs?

If that’s what chaos looks like, well then, Americans — both now and at the polls — will choose chaos.

Woodward’s book may serve as this month’s fodder for the tittering tongues in the anti-Trump media. But insofar as impacting voters, influencing election outcomes, changing the shape of this White House’s politics and policies — don’t hold breath.

There are far too many positives coming from this administration for a book like “Fear,” even as it’s written by a reputable journalist like Woodward, to leave a permanent dent on Trump.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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