“Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost,” the president mused in a tweet. His comments followed excerpts of journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on the administration, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” depicted a White House in disorder.
Woodward claims in the book that the president referred to his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as “mentally retarded,” and White House chief of staff John Kelly called the president an “idiot” and “unhinged.”
The president and staff including Kelly,
Mr. Trump has previously threatened to revise the country’s libel laws, to make it easier to sue news organizations and publishers for unflattering coverage. The president called current laws a “sham and a disgrace” following the release ofwhich also portrayed a White House in turmoil.
“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws, so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Mr. Trump threatened in January. “If somebody says something that’s totally false and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libeled will have meaningful recourse.”
He added, “We want fairness. You can’t say things that are false — knowingly false — and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account. We’re going to take a very, very strong look at that. And I think what the American people want to see is fairness.”
Meanwhile, in a gaggle with White House reporters on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she “didn’t know” if Woodward’s depiction of the White House amounted to libel.
“I think we have to see the rest of the book. We’ve seen a few excerpts that have been pretty widely pushed back on by some of the most respected people in our country, and we’ll see what happens with the rest of the book,” Sanders added.
Those who were interviewed for this book were mostly not current staffers, Sanders asserted, and she accused “elites and left-leaning individuals” of trying to push a certain narrative. When reporters pointed out Woodward had interviewed both current and former staffers, she pushed back, that the book had used “anonymous sourcing.”