AVA- Excerpts from the book which comes out next week, have started to leak in several media outlets, showing how tumultuous — and potentially dangerous — Trump’s foreign policy has been.
2017 Syria Strike
According to Woodward, following the alleged chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017, which Syrian and Russian officials slammed as a false flag attack aimed at discrediting the Syrian government, President Donald Trump was so furious that he wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In a telephone call with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Trump allegedly said the following, according to Woodward: “Let’s f***ing kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f***ing lot of them.”
Telling the president that he would deal with it, Mattis hung up the phone and instead allegedly told an aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.”
Three days later, following internal consultations, but before the alleged chemical attack could be properly investigated, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat air base, in what Washington claimed was a direct response to the Khan Shaykhun “attack.”
“Me Versus Kim”
In the fall of 2017, Trump reportedly told top White House staffer Rob Porter about how he wanted to handle ongoing nuclear tensions with North Korea.
“This is all about leader versus leader. Man versus man. Me versus Kim,” Trump said according to Woodward.
US-Korea Free Trade Agreement
Trump was also very close to removing the US from the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. According to Woodward, Trump had a letter on his desk that — had he signed it — would’ve withdrawn the US from the free-trade deal. Trump has previously expressed a desire to leave that accord.
Gary Cohn, then Trump’s top economic adviser, was so fearful Trump might sign it that he removed the letter from the president desk.
“I stole it off his desk,” Cohn told someone close to him. “I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.”
Stealing documents, Woodward notes, is something Trump staffers repeatedly do to keep the president from harming US national security. Woodward describes the tactic as “no less than an administrative coup d’état.”
“Fifth- or Sixth-Grader”
Another story by Woodward recounts that after a testy meeting on South Korea — in which Trump questioned why the US backs it financially and militarily — Mattis told associates that the president acted and understood things like “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
“Secretaries of defense don’t always get to choose the president they work for,” Mattis reportedly joked to friends in another instance.
Meanwhile, the Secretary denied making these statements. “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 Tuesday statement.
Wednesday 5 September 2018 17:02