Up & Coming Weekly

January 28, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JANUARY 29-FEBRUARY 4, 2020 UCW 11 President Donald Trump blasted top military officials as "losers" and "a bunch of dopes and babies" for lack of success in recent wars during a tense meeting early in his presidency, which set a negative tone for the relation- ship between the Pentagon and White House, according to a new book. e book, "A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America," was written by Washington Post nation- al investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker. It provides an insider narrative of Donald Trump's presidency. "A Very Stable Genius" was named after Trump's declaration of his superior knowledge. e book chronicles the first three years of the Trump presi- dency, with interviews about high-level administration discussions, which the authors say have not been made public before. Included are details of a meeting at the Pentagon in the summer of 2017, six months into Trump's presidency, where top generals and administra- tion officials met with the president to discuss U.S. alliances and military posture overseas. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn were present. All of them have since stepped down from their posts. For the first time, officials who felt honor-bound not to criticize a sitting president publicly or divulge what they witnessed in a position of trust, tell the truth for the benefit of history. Sources interviewed for the book say the Pentagon meeting devolved into an angry rant by Trump, who accused top U.S. military officials of incompetence. He called Afghanistan a "loser war" and told the generals that "you don't know how to win anymore." He attacked the group for the costs of ongoing military operations overseas and said that the United States should have gotten pay- ments in oil from allies that the U.S. assisted in the Middle East. "I wouldn't go to war with you peo- ple," the book quotes Trump as saying to the military officials. "You're a bunch of dopes and babies." According to the authors, Tillerson defended the military leaders and told Trump his criticism was "totally wrong." Tillerson was fired in March 2018. Mattis, a former Marine Corps general, resigned about nine months later, citing differences with Trump over support for foreign allies. Mattis declined to comment on the new book. During the meeting, the authors wrote, Trump sug- gested charging "rent" to South Korea for U.S. military forces stationed there and suggested that NATO countries owed America direct payments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Publicly, Pentagon leaders character- ized the meeting in a positive light. But Leonnig and Rucker said the session led to a strained relationship between the generals and Trump and the eventual departure of several high-ranking offi- cials who were upset over the adminis- tration's policies. Predictably, President Trump lashed out at the authors of the book calling them "stone-cold losers." In a tweet, Trump asserted that "almost every story" in the book was "a made-up lie." A very stable genius by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS The book, "A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America," was written by Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker.

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