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Trump called top officials ‘losers’ in meeting: book

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  • A July 2017 meeting between President Donald Trump and his top national security team went disastrously wrong, according to new book by two Washington Post reporters.
  • Officials hoped to teach Trump about the basics of America’s global role, but the president grew irate and started insulting US military leaders, said the book, named “A Very Stable Genius.”
  • “I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump reportedly told the assembled brass. Addressing the room, the commander-in-chief added: “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies,” according to the book.
  • It prompted a stunned silence around the room, with some officials feeling “sick to their stomachs,” the authors wrote.
  • Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the only official to stand up to the president that day, the authors said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump hurled insults at top officials in an extraordinary outburst in a Pentagon meeting to educate the president on some of the basic facts of the US’ role in the world, according to an explosive new book about the White House.

According to an excerpt in The Washington Post of “A Very Stable Genius” — written by Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig — the incident took place in a secure meeting room called “The Tank” in July 2017.

The meeting had been convened by top members of Trump’s national security team — including then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who have all since left the administration — the book said.

The three men were reportedly concerned about Trump’s ignorance of key facts of geography, history, and military strategy, and wanted to bring him up to speed. 

“Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson and their aides decided to use maps, graphics, and charts to tutor the president, figuring they would help keep him from getting bored,” Rucker and Leonnig wrote.

“Mattis opened with a slide show punctuated by lots of dollar signs.”

Trump, however, reportedly grew increasingly irate, demanding to know why the US wasn’t seeking payment from allies in Europe and South Korea for military forces being stationed there, and berating top brass over the failures of US strategy in Afghanistan. 

James Mattis and Donald Trump

Trump and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images


“You’re all losers,” Trump reportedly said. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”

According to the account, Trump launched into an astonishing personal attack on the officials. 

“I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump reportedly told the assembled brass.

Addressing the room, the commander-in-chief then barked: “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies,” the reporters said.

Describing the stunned silence in the room after the president’s diatribe, the book said: “So many people in that room had gone to war and risked their lives for their country, and now they were being dressed down by a president who had not. They felt sick to their stomachs.”

trump meeting

Trump at a White House meeting.
Oliver Douliery/Pool-Getty Images


According to the excerpt, the only official who rebuked Trump was Tillerson, who interrupted the president when he began saying that the US should start making money from foreign troop deployments. 

“The men and women who put on a uniform don’t do it to become soldiers of fortune,” Tillerson said. “That’s not why they put on a uniform and go out and die … They do it to protect our freedom.”

The same meeting had previously been reported by reporter Bob Woodward in “Fear,” his 2018 book about the Trump White House. But the details described by Rucker and Leonnig had never been reported before.

According to Woodward, Tillerson called Trump a “f—— moron” after the meeting. Trump sacked Tillerson in May 2018, reportedly by tweet.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the book. 

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