Earlier today we learned from Bob Woodward’s new book that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly thinks Donald Trump is an “idiot” and that Secretary of Defense James Mattis thinks Trump has the mentality of a “sixth grader.” Just now Donald Trump posted back-to-back statements from Kelly and Mattis, and let’s just say that there’s good reason to doubt that either statement actually came from the man in question.
First Trump tweeted a lengthy statement attributed to James Mattis, and then just one minute later, he tweeted a shorter statement attributed to John Kelly. Both “statements” are, shall we say, on the suspicious side. Mattis is supposedly dismissing the book as “fiction” while criticizing Woodward for supposedly having used “anonymous sources” – a recent obsession on the part of Trump himself. Kelly’s supposed statement writes off the book as “pathetic attempt to smear people.”
To be clear, the language and sentence structure in both these statements is far too sophisticated to have been written by Donald Trump himself. But both statements include a number of his favorite words and phrases, and they very much sound like they were crafted with direct input from Trump. We wouldn’t expect Mattis or Kelly to publicly side with Bob Woodward over Trump, for fear of losing their jobs. That said, we can’t see these two guys disrespecting Bernstein to this extent by needlessly throwing in words like “fiction” and “pathetic.” Also, Woodward has made clear that he recorded every conversation that was used as source material for his book.
Of course the real reason we’re left laughing at these “statements” is that they’re being issued by Donald Trump. If Mattis and Kelly had made these statements, they’d have simply given them directly to the media, so that the media would know to treat them as legitimate. The real kicker is that twelve minutes later Trump tweeted yet another statement, this time from Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Interestingly, it reads almost exactly like the Mattis and Kelly statements.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report