Mattis Doesn't Take Kindly to Woodward Lies, Blasts with Marine-Grade Response


Secretary of Defense James Mattis is denying making the negative statements about President Donald Trump that are claimed in a new book by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.

And he’s not leaving any room for doubt.

“The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence,” Mattis said in a statement, according to Washington Examiner.

“While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

In Twitter posts Tuesday, Trump also gave his opinion on Woodward’s book, calling it “discredited” and called the quotes in it “a con on the public.”

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Trump also hinted at pushing a change to libel laws in light of the book.

The portrayal of Mattis by Woodward was one that the public has never witnessed before.

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For example, Woodward claimed Mattis “was particularly exasperated and alarmed” by Trump’s behavior, “telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader’,” according to The Washington Post.

The statements that Woodward attributed to Mattis seem out of character for the stoic, former Marine general. The man has spent his life in a disciplined chain of command.

Of course, Woodward’s information did not come from Mattis himself. He relied on unnamed sources.

Trump questioned Woodward’s sources in a phone call.

“Are you naming names? Or do you just say ‘sources’?” Trump asked Woodward. Woodward responded that he narrates incidents and names those who were present at the time.

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In a statement released Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders blasted the work.

“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad,” the statement said, according to CBS News.

That’s not how liberals would put it, of course. According to Vox senior politics reporter Andrew Prokop, Woodward analyzed interviews with numerous anonymous sources, then created “reconstructions” of what he believed happened at meetings behind closed doors.

“Woodward is a master of reconstructing internal meetings by cross-referencing what various attendees have given him,” Prokop wrote.

It is inevitable that statements given by former employees would be exaggerated or potentially false. There is no way to be sure anything in the book is true if Woodward is required to “cross-reference” various potentially conflicting statements.

It might be the case that some of Woodward’s “reconstructions” are completely factual, but there is no way to discern which portions of the book are factual and which portions of the book are embellished or outright false.

I would be cautious about claims made in Woodward’s book. As Mattis said, “his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

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Malachi Bailey is a writer from Ohio with a background in history, education and philosophy. He has led multiple conservative groups and is dedicated to the principles of free speech, privacy and peace.
Malachi Bailey is a writer from Ohio with a passion for free speech, privacy and peace. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a B.A. in History. While at Wooster, he served as the Treasurer for the Wooster Conservatives and the Vice President for the Young Americans for Liberty.
Topics of Expertise
Politics, History