President Trump took fresh aim Friday at Bob Woodward, disputing quotes the veteran journalist attributed to him in his forthcoming book and later calling him an “idiot” during remarks in North Dakota.
“I don’t talk the way I am quoted,” Trump said in a morning tweet. “If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up.”
Woodward has said he stands by his reporting for the book, “Fear,” which came under a first wave of criticism from the White House when a story appeared in The Washington Post earlier this week about its harrowing portrayal of Trump’s tenure.
“The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle. I wish the people could see the real facts – and our country is doing GREAT!” Trump said in his tweet Friday.
His tweet was sent shortly after 5:30 a.m. in Montana, where Trump was staying after a Thursday night political rally before heading to North Dakota.
He later returned to the subject while talking to reporters Friday afternoon on Air Force One.
“You people know me. I don’t talk that way,” Trump said. “I can’t get up and talk in front of a crowd, many times without notes, for an hour and 25 minutes and get the biggest crowds in the history of politics. . . . You don’t get up and do that because you don’t know how to think or talk. You can only do that if you’re at a very very high level.”
Trump indicated that he considers himself “highly educated” and said he “always did well, always did well, no matter what I did. “
Later, in remarks to a crowd in North Dakota, he derisively referred to “this idiot Woodward.”
Woodward wrote that his book was drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses — interviews that were conducted on “deep background,” meaning that Woodward could use the information but not reveal who provided it. His account is also drawn from meeting notes, personal diaries and government documents, he said.
In the book, Trump is extensively quoted, based on the recollections of others.
Earlier this week, Trump suggested that libel laws should be changed so that he would be better positioned to seek “retribution” against Woodward, whose book portrays a presidency careening toward a “nervous breakdown.”