Bob Woodward's book on Trump: The most explosive quotes

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Mr Mattis is also quoted as saying Mr Trump had the understanding of "a fifth- or sixth-grader" - the age of 10 or 11 - in understanding foreign affairs.

Trump's advisers are repeatedly stunned by the president's lack of interest in and knowledge of major issues.

Ahead of the release of the new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House", scandalous excerpts have emerged, among them that Trump allegedly mocked Sessions' southern accent and intelligence, saying, "This guy is mentally retarded". Trump groused as those around him tried to clarify the objective of the war in Afghanistan.

"Why aren't we getting this done?" Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before he was sacked, famously declined to deny that he too thought the president was an "moron". Porter has since left the White House.

Trump reportedly questioned why the US was spending money and military resources in the Korean Peninsula during a National Security Council meeting in January.

"We're doing this in order to prevent World War III", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reportedly told the president. According to Fear, after Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017, Trump called Mattis and said he wanted to assassinate the dictator.

Mattis is quoted explaining to Trump why the USA maintains troops on the Korean Peninsula to monitor North Korea's missile activities.

Mr Cohn, who tried to rein in Mr Trump's protectionist impulses, also planned to remove a similar memo that would have withdrawn the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, Mr Woodward wrote. "There was nobody taking anything from me".

When things go bad in a White House, they're the ones who see talking to Woodward as a way to distance themselves from the stench of failure and maintain some semblance of a future career.

One of the sources of considerable consternation for the president's staff, per Woodward, was what they viewed as his risky impulses on foreign policy.

Trump himself was not a primary source for the book.

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Woodward does not name his sources.

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Mr Trump said that "it's just another bad book", adding that Woodward "has a lot of credibility problems". The Washington Post also released audio of Trump and Woodward discussing the failure to arrange an interview at some length. Trump sounded incredulous that he never got to sit for an interview and defend himself to the author.

Mr Mattis assured Mr Trump he would get right on it, but then told a senior aide they would do nothing of the kind, Mr Woodward wrote.

President Trump on Tuesday asked whether Bob Woodward could be "a Dem operative" after an early copy of the veteran reporter's soon-to-be-released book portrayed a chaotic White House plagued by infighting and bad-mouthing against the president.

He went on: "The idea I would replace Senator McConnell was mentioned and quickly disposed of".

"Yeah, O.K.", Trump said.

Ms Sanders said the book was "nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad".

He compared his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to a rat.

White House chief of staff John Kelly also rejected Woodward's reporting that he called Trump an "idiot", even though multiple outlets have also reported that Kelly has privately disparaged the President.

"[Trump]'s an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything".

Trump came to be suspicious of Kelly's scrupulousness, finding workarounds, such as calling members of Congress when Kelly was not in the room.

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