In his new, headline-making book about the Trump White House, veteran journalist Bob Woodward reveals shocking untold claims about President Trump — including the advice Trump allegedly gave a friend about how to act after behaving badly toward women.
“Trump gave some private advice to a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women,” Woodward — the investigative journalist who gained fame for breaking Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal — writes in Fear, on sale now.
“Real power is fear. It’s all about strength. Never show weakness,” Trump said, according to Woodward’s source. “You’ve always got to be strong. Don’t be bullied. There is no choice.
“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” Trump allegedly continued. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”
This detail takes on special significance in light of the president’s own alleged history of mistreating women. Trump’s presidential bid was nearly undermined in October 2016 after a leaked Access Hollywood tape revealed him boasting about groping women. The scandal was followed by accusations of sexual harassment or assault from multiple women, including PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff — who alleges Trump attacked her in 2005 by pushing her up against a wall at Mar-a- Lago and shoving his tongue down her throat.
The president is also currently fighting a legal battle involving an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, which he denies.
According to Woodward, Trump also told his friend, “That was the big mistake you made. You didn’t come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
This alleged advice mirrors Trump’s response to his own accusers. He has denied all allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him, tweeting in 2016 that the accusations are “100% fabricated and made-up charges.” He’s also called his accusers “horrible, horrible liars” and their charges “false allegations and outright lies.”
Trump also employed this denial tactic after he learned about the claims in Woodward’s book.
The president has said that “the book means nothing” and that Woodward “likes to get publicity, sell some books.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement earlier this month denying the claims made in Woodward’s book.
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“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad,” reads the statement. “While it is not always pretty, and rare that the press actually covers it, President Trump has broken through the bureaucratic process to deliver unprecedented successes for the American people.”
Despite his denial on all fronts, people continue to speak out.
In February 2018, Stoynoff said Trump should apologize. She wants him to issue a statement about his accusers that says “we are not liars.”
“For Trump and his press secretary to continue to push the false agenda that the women are liars,” she said, “and continue to so cavalierly defame private citizens is outrageous and improper.”