Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ reveals an unhinged president & a White House in chaos

President Trump meets with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House

Personally, I don’t like Bob Woodward’s whole vibe. I used to respect him as a journalist, but then he wrote the trilogy of insider books about the Bush administration. Remember those? Remember how he withheld vital, timely and pertinent pieces of information for months and even years just so he could publish it all in his books? I also feel like he’s gets way too cozy with many of his subjects, but whatever. Anyway, Woodward has a new book. It’s called FEAR. It’s about the Trump administration. And woooo, the first excerpts are here and they are CRAZY. Well, maybe I’m overselling it – I actually assumed that all of this was happening based on what we already knew about the profound dysfunction of this administration. The Washington Post was the first to do extensive excerpts – go here to read. Some highlights:

Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd: Dowd was convinced that President Trump would commit perjury if he talked to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So, on Jan. 27, the president’s then-personal attorney staged a practice session to try to make his point. In the White House residence, Dowd peppered Trump with questions about the Russia investigation, provoking stumbles, contradictions and lies until the president eventually lost his cool. “This thing’s a g-ddamn hoax,” Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, “I don’t really want to testify.”

His staff treats him like a belligerent child: Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis thinks Trump is a child: “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ”

John Kelly says Trump is unhinged: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

Reince Priebus was funny. Woodward writes that Priebus dubbed the presidential bedroom, where Trump obsessively watched cable news and tweeted, “the devil’s workshop” and said early mornings and Sunday evenings, when the president often set off tweetstorms, were “the witching hour.”

Trump mocks Jeff Sessions: A near-constant subject of withering presidential attacks was Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump told Rob Porter that Sessions was a “traitor” for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, Woodward writes. Mocking Sessions’s accent, Trump added: “This guy is mentally r–arded. He’s this dumb Southerner. . . . He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”

Then-White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn once stole a letter: Cohn “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice that it was missing.

[From WaPo]

Of course there’s tons more, even in the early excerpts. It’s clear that Woodward spoke to some or many of the former Trump staffers, like Gary Cohn, Priebus, and probably Scaramucci as well (because why not). The portrait is what I’ve assumed from day one: disorganized chaos built around a petty, senile traitor with child-like urges. No one in the White House wants to be there. But they want to get credit for not wanting to be there, I guess, as they carry out Trump’s unhinged orders.


Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Avalon Red.

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73 Responses to “Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ reveals an unhinged president & a White House in chaos”

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  1. Swack says:

    Am going to pre-order the book to read. Not sure why anyone is surprised by what has been put out there. Of course the denials are coming fast and furious, not only from Trump but from Mattis, Kelly and others.

    • KNy says:

      I literally just came here to say this. Why is the media acting surprised? I literally talk about trump the same way John Kelly talks about trump. Listen to him ramble for 60 seconds and that’s the conclusion anyone could make. There are memes upon memes of John Kelly with his hand on his face looking disgusted as trump does/says something foolish.

      As for testifying – I’m glad it’s in print now that he said he didn’t want to. I feel like it’s very, very clear that their plan is to say that trump has noooo problem sitting down with Mueller but his doggone lawyers don’t want him to, that they’re stopping him, so he looks like he has nothing to hide. But people – including the media – have been talking about it like it’s the lawyers who are running the show and trump would be more than willing to talk to Mueller. trump would crap his pants if he had to talk to Mueller.

    • Darla says:

      He is mentally unfit to be president, and the media can’t handle that fact. By ignoring that fact, they have normalized his behavior. Because the media act as if all of this is normal, some americans are being successfully gaslighted, others know they are being gaslighted and are angry and besides themselves, and the rest have tuned out.

      An unfolding disaster and we still don’t know how this ends.

  2. Sara says:

    Yes yet no one cares. Millions of people aren’t registered to vote. People just hear this stuff,dismiss it, and let it go. It’s all noise to most.

    • Tw says:

      I disagree. It’s noise to the base, which is about 30%, not most people.

    • Betsy says:

      I don’t even think most hear it, to be completely honest. I think the asinine “both sides” corporatist treatment that politics has been given has just turned people off. There’s a sense that there are larger moving parts behind the scenes (there is! It’s called right winh money!), and that we!re being lied to, but no one knows which indie media is truthful and which is lying and which is exaggerating…. couple that with schools that seem not to teach critical thinking.

      It’s not a lost cause, but it’s going to have to change a lot before many engage. (Sadly – I’m not defending their apathy).

  3. Rapunzel says:

    And he has tapes! Trump is tweeting like a madman about this, and Woodward really were needs to release the receipts.

    • Beth says:

      Lordy, I hope there really are tapes! There have been other times when Trump has been proven to be lying when there are tapes, and it amazes me how his die hard supporters just shrug their shoulders at the proof

    • holly hobby says:

      I think someone on Twitter put it correctly, with the first two books (Fire and Fury and Omarosa), there was a credibility problem. However, Woodward’s work is pretty well known and he has sources to back up the stories. So now the Nazis can’t spin it as fake false etc. They will but I doubt they will get much traction on that spin.

  4. grabbyhands says:

    Writers exposes chaos within White House, stories closely resemble previous exposes, heated denials are made, 45′s base loves him more and the GOP continues to ignore it because they still have an agenda to pass.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I’m not sure if Woodward is expecting it to make a big splash because his name is attached, but the most this is going to net him is a few days of interviews and book sales supported by people who have already assumed that this has been going on since day one. Net result zero.

  5. boredblond says:

    Prediction: there will be a dozen books by these insiders about how they saved the country, made all the decisions and ‘aren’t they all so brave and noble’. Bull. If they gave a rat’s ass about power in the hands of a moron they’d say it now and confirm what anyone with a brain already knew instead of being overpaid baby sitters.

  6. BlueSky says:

    Orange Mussolini making fun of the KKKeebler elf actually made me laugh. Of course his supporters won’t care that he’s insulting his accent and intelligence because they are all drinking the koolaid.
    Yeah I will probably get this book too.

    • Lady D says:

      In a WP article, they interviewed a few senators from the South. They all immediately denied being stupid, one even noted, “we may have lost the civil war but we won the economic war” Not one of them doubted for a second that Trump had said what he said.

      • Stumpycorgi says:

        WTF. Those statements clearly identify their cause: white supremacy. The Civil War was fought over slavery. It is plainly laid out in the Articles of Secession. The southern states fought for the right to enslave black people. Simple as that. On a related note, I highly recommend the podcast “Uncivil.” It debunks so much mythology about the Civil War.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Also, in what reality has the South won the economic war?? They have some of the worst wage and education rates in the United States!

    • holly hobby says:

      I’m wait listed #129 for 32 books in the library!

  7. Christin says:

    Bob seemed like an Orange defender a couple of years ago, so that may be part of the reason it’s so jarring to the book’s subject.

    I found it funny that the staff didn’t prepare for the inevitable pre-release promotion. They were supposedly blindsided by the excerpts dropping yesterday.

  8. Eleonor says:

    On another related news the water is wet.
    I am deeply saddened, America is a great country and deserves better than this.

    • Moe says:

      It seems to me everybody in the orange babys orbit eventuslly gets burned -or indicted. I remember thinking when he first got elected that it was the quality of the people around him that would eventually be his undoing. Obama had CLASS people delegated to jobs for him. Anyone with ANY kind of morality eventually bails on trump. My god when will this nightmare end?

      • Cran says:

        Look at Trumps history. It’s the same game plan as his time in Atlantic City. The banks bailed him out so they didn’t tank as well. That’s where he learned to use debt & other peoples money to escape. He also doesn’t build anything & owns very little. He LICENSES his name & Gets fees for MANAGING property. If the property tanks he still gets paid. He owns the DC hotel, Trump Tower & one of two other properties in NYC, his golf clubs & Mar-a-Lago. And his foreign golf clubs aren’t doing particularly well.

    • AnneC says:

      Watched Active Measures last night on ITunes. Holy hell, trump will be going down for obstruction and collusion AND money laundering. The guy is a two bit criminal that’s been helping Russian oligarchs for years to launder their money through trump tower’s all over the world. This is what you get when half of eligible voters don’t even bother to go to the polls. Please vote people.

  9. Red Snapper says:

    I’m loving Trump’s near constant abuse of Jeff Sessions. Not quite as bad as being ripped from your family and locked in a cage, but I’m sure Jeff doesn’t agree.

    • Lady D says:

      Does Sessions get a vote re Kavanaugh? I was thinking last night that it would be an incredible FU to Trump were Sessions to vote no. Can I keep dreaming for a while or does he not get a vote? I was hoping maybe an outraged Southern Senator might vote no, but they sounded calm and resigned to Trump as a leader.

      • Dara says:

        He most definitely does not get a vote. In one of the few bright spots on the political landscape in the last few years, the seat Sessions vacated was actually filled by a Democrat.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    And Her Royal Highness the Most Corrupt Princess Nagini of the Most Sacred Horcruxed Vagina insists that she be addressed as First Daughter. Don’t call her STAFF!

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Am surprised she hasn’t yet demanded to be called ‘President in Waiting’ as you just know that’s her and Ken Doll’s end game.

    • AnnaKist says:

      But isn’t she a “volunteer”? I don’t know hw it works in America, but here, volunteers are not staff, so to expect to be called First Daughter… Gah – this minger really is a piece of work. The sooner she departs the scene, the better.

      • Lightpurple says:

        She and all her defenders claim she works for free; however, she has a salaried staff of 27 people, including a chief of staff, occupies West Wing office space; uses office furniture and supplies, software licenses, and IT devices; uses utilities such as heat, electricity, water and sewage; and travels with staff constantly, generating bills for transport, lodging and meals, all of which she bills to the US taxpayers.

      • notasugarhere says:

        “volunteers” don’t get millions in taxpayer funded security for all of their homes and trips.

      • Lightpurple says:

        This self-styled Princess is costing us millions and I love that nobody has refuted Woodward’s excerpts about her, not even Daddy!

  11. Sunrise says:

    Always thought trump was cray cray don’t need to read woodwards book to know this. Nothing he could write about trump and his nepotistic family would surprise me.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Yep. Dump’s base couldn’t give a toss what Woodward says, so the guy really is preaching to the converted.

  12. minx says:

    I really enjoyed these tidbits. Trump can deny everything but Woodward is a dogged, thorough reporter.

  13. Andree says:

    “Then-White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn once stole a letter: Cohn “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice that it was missing.”

    OMG, this so funny, Cohn is an unsung hero! *dieing here*

    • Esmom says:

      This is the one excerpt that doesn’t make sense to me. Not sure if I believe Cohn because who would have put the letter there in the first place? I cannot believe that Trump would have written it himself. It just doesn’t quite add up.

    • Lady D says:

      Isn’t stealing something from the President of the United States considered espionage? He says he did it for national security.
      Slightly OT here, but I find the lack of decorum in the Oval Office quite unsettling. Never seen or dreamed the White House could be like this. It must be so hard on the millions of decent Americans.

  14. Veronica S. says:

    Do we really need a book to verify that, though? He behaves this way in public for the most part. His supporters don’t care. That’s why the focus needs to be on the elections.

    • Esmom says:


    • adastraperaspera says:

      So true. I respect Woodward, but I wonder why he decided to release it right before the Midterms. I’m not interested in reading about the reality show inside the White House. I just want the election to sweep them all out of power so we can start the clean up. I also hate how all the “news” shows just sit around gabbing about the outrageous behavior, but do no analysis or investigation of the crimes they are committing daily.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Exactly. I could care less about the drama in the White House – I know he’s a garbage president. I’m more concerned with the shenanigans preceding the election, like Carolina’s Republican party to use their illegally gerrymandered map because there’s no time to redraw districts before the elections, meaning all of those people have to vote knowing their voice is being stolen from them.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      In some ways, I think it does matter. Books from Wolff and Omarosa can be doubted because they may have an ax to grind. In contrast, Woodward is such a respected source. There really is no higher level of journalistic integrity. For posterity’s sake, it is important that we get these facts on the record.

      Petty back stabbing is one thing…giving orders to get Assad killed, or jeopardizing our South Korean military base is quite another.

      I think one of the most important things that needs to happen now is that these things need to matter to the GOP in congress. We need them to live up to their responsibilities as checks and balances. It seems this book is hitting hard in Washington. Even if your average voter isn’t moved by this information, I am hoping people in congress with power will be impacted by the information.

      • Lady D says:

        “giving orders to get Assad killed” Seriously, wtf does he think the office of the president does? He just assumes he can get someone killed?

      • jwoolman says:


      • holly hobby says:

        Yes people on Twitter said Woodward’s book legitimizes what was flowing out there for a long time. He’s a respected journalist so obviously his book would be more legit than Wolfe and Omarosa. All three books basically said the same thing.

      • holly hobby says:

        And I loved how Mattis goes uh huh yeah will get to it. Hangs up and told his staff uh uh we’re not doing any of this.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      The book might sway some more people to vote for Democrats – from either side, Republican or Independent. Everything helps, and there’s nothing wrong in releasing this book now. Woodward is a lifelong Republican and better this comes from him than from Carl Bernstein.

  15. Jerusha says:

    Awww, Jeffy Bo, have you managed to wipe the brown off your nose yet? The stench of trump’s and your rally in 8/15 still lingers here in Mobile. You got what you deserve. ROTFLMAO!!

  16. why? says:

    What stands out about Bob’s reporting is that it confirms just how incompetent the press truly is. Once a story is out of their sight, they completely forget about it, they don’t go back and do follow up reporting. Some of the things that Bob is reporting are stories that we have already heard, but journalists were treating it like it was the first time that they had ever heard it. We already knew that the Dotard’s lawyers were doing mock trial questions with him. In April, Micheal S “broke” that Mueller gave the Dotard written questions, but then Phillip Rucker corrected Micheal’s story by reporting that it was actually Jay Sekulow, not Mueller, who wrote the questions after talking to Mueller and his people. The Dotard’s tantrum was mentioned in the reporting. So one of Bob’s sources is Jay Sekulow. The press could have used yesterday to confirm the story we previously heard in April. The press and WH reporters are apart of the reason we have the Dotard as president today.

    The Dotard has loyalty to no one but Putin. I just finished Bill Browder’s book, and the reason the Dotard is really mad with McCain is because Putin is really mad with McCain. McCain was one of the people who played a role in helping to sponsor the Magnitsky Act.

    • A says:

      WHY: Once more and LOUDLY for the cowards and crazies in the back.

      And then once more for the overwhelmed reporters and media editors/managers/influencers inundated with news – triage the data influx and follow up on the stories that were important enough to single out in the first place.

  17. Louisa says:

    I’m so sick of these books. I’m so sick of WH insiders anonymously giving quotes and then denying them. You want to save the country from this shit show, then all need to resign en masse and immediately talk about why and what is happening. And not to an author who will hold the info for months until his / her book gets published.
    My god is there no one with a backbone who will come out and DO something.

    • Justwastingtime says:

      Louisa .. with all due respect, if we are waiting for someone to save us, it’s going to a long wait. We need to save ourselves by voting and giving money.

      • Louisa says:

        I agree, but once Kavanaugh is confirmed (which he will be) how much difference will a “blue wave” at the mid terms really make now. Yes, we might start getting some push back against Trump but the damage will be done.
        I’m sorry, I’m just so despondent today. I do vote and I do give – money and time, and encourage everyone around me to do the same. Right now, it just doesn’t feel like it’s doing any good.

      • Dara says:

        Louisa, please don’t give up. Giving Democrats the majority in the fall is just the first step. Yes, things are bad, and Kavanaugh could make them worse, but we have to keep fighting.

        The Supreme Court only hears a handful of cases each session. Yes, they are important precedent-setting cases, but even getting to that point can sometimes take years, a lot of effort, and a lot of money. Would you rather it be the conservatives forced to go through the process of appealing laws they don’t like, or do you want it to be liberals? And looking ahead to 2020, if a Democrat defeats Trump, and Democrats have the majority in Congress, they will be the ones nominating and confirming the federal judges that do the heavy lifting in the court system – long before cases make it to the Supreme Court.

  18. RBC says:

    I would like to know what other documents had to be taken off his desk to prevent 45 from signing and starting WW3?
    Also, does anyone else imagine that when Ivanka was shouting she is not staff, she dropped the “whisper baby voice” and swore
    like a sailor?
    The writers at SNL must be thrilled

  19. Valerie says:

    None of this is new, but I’m glad it’s all being recorded.

  20. Q T Hush says:

    If anybody is able to do a “tell all” the media has complete true stories everyday about the so called Leader of the Free World”. Bombard the a$$hole with film at 11:00 every night of his cray-cray behavior. Let people know the extent of his damage of veteran’s assistance, Medicaid, education and a plethora of other social needs of our times. No more pussy footing around, serve his head on a platter to the uniformed masses. Enough of this unreality show. Do your job!

    • Lightpurple says:

      Start reporting on the problems in the agencies due to his mismanagement. They are grossly understaffed to the point they can’t function. Most Social Security offices have to close at least one day a week plus a “short day,” just so they can handle the paperwork on their cases without interruption of having to deal with new cases. Social Security disability hearings are a two year wait in some areas. Same with EEOC. My 89 year old great aunt is STILL waiting for her income tax refund. She has been given no explanation as to why. It takes at least 90 minutes to get through to a human and they have been unable to explain why her refund is frozen. And then, there’s Puerto Rico. Our government is failing to serve its citizens.

      • Christin says:

        Even before the short staffing, the Social Security phone “help” gave me incorrect information for a basic question that I later found as a specific example in their own training manual (which I found online).

        Fortunately I work within walking distance of a regional SS office. I was in line early to see a live person, and confirmed I’d been given incorrect information by phone. When I told the employee that the phone assistance had given me the wrong information (despite asking them more than once), he said they hear that often. I strongly encourage people to never take what they say at face value, if you think you or a loved one are owed money.

        I hope you can get an answer regarding your relative’s IRS refund.

  21. me46 says:

    John Schindler tweeted yesterday that Mattis has saved humanity more than once. If he resigns or is fired,which is very likely, we are in big trouble when it comes to trump starting WW3/Nuclear War.

    • GreenTurtle says:

      Thank you. People who want a big show of all of the decent people resigning don’t understand the cost. Mattis and others are devoted to protecting the country. Administrations come and go. Public servants serve the people.

  22. Fluffy Princess says:

    I agree with everyone here–on all the points made. Sometimes I wish there was a “like” button here, because I could go down this thread and up vote everyone.

    I love how the media is all “OMGeeeerd! Bombshells! It’s “Crazytown!” Duh mofos, duh.

    We’ve known that since the beginning. I love how the press acts innocent every. single. time! It’s like, “Oh my!!! (clutches pearls) Can you believe this? (fans self).” Because REALLY? Everyone who has been paying even the most modicum of attention already knew it was sh**show from BEFORE day 1.

  23. nocleverhandle says:

    Occasionally I check out the Dotard’s twitter, and I feel like I’ve gone to the Upside Down, Bizarro World, Twilight Zone, alternate reality, whatever it is. It feels like it tilts my brain. It’s just so…..crazy to me. I can’t go there very often bc it truly messes with my head.

    • Christin says:

      It seems surreal, doesn’t it? I notice more dissenting replies than there used to be, too. The few supporters have their work cut out for them these days!

      Also — You do have a clever user name!

      • Nocleverhandle says:

        Aw, thanks, Christin! I hope you’re correct about the dissenting comments, this Swamp Thing needs to go back to the bogs.

        Did you catch any clips from his Montana rally? WTH? And his “supporters” behind him were less enthusiastic than usual. I watched a woman get into an argument with her daughter/granddaughter(?) and it was much more realistic than the garbled world salad spewing from Cheeto Mussolini’s pie hole.

  24. ncw says:

    I wonder if Trump voters are pleased with themselves as our country falls apart, or if they just convince themselves that Hilary would have been worse.

  25. SJhere says:

    Why is it taking so long to bring Trump down?

    Nixon must be spinning in his grave.
    Nixon, at minimum, could make a public statement without sounding like an angry, tired, 3 year old.
    Trump can’t even get thru one day without twittering. Twitter is his main line of communication, even as the sitting POTUS. Unreal. We have stepped into a nightmare version of Alice in Wonderland.

    I actually feel sad for Gen. Kelly.
    A lifetime in military service, achieving rank of General, and the poor man is now spending his time and effort dealing with that orange fool.

    I swear I am planning to be in line at the voting station waiting in the parking lot to vote ASAP when the doors are opened.
    The Dems could literally print the ballots to read “Anyone not supporting Trump and his policies” and that would bring a huge landslide, IMO.