Donald Trump is making an aggressive effort to stem the crisis of authority afflicting his presidency at a critical moment.
With midterm elections looming, he’s facing new questions about his fitness for office, and he’s hunting a hidden rebel within his own camp.
The President took immediate steps to address the situation on Monday, hitting out at Bob Woodward’s new book, which, along with an op-ed by an anonymous senior official in the New York Times, presents a devastating picture of his performance.
“The Woodward book is a Joke – just another assault against me, in a barrage of assaults, using now disproven unnamed and anonymous sources…” Trump tweeted.
“Many have already come forward to say the quotes by them, like the book, are fiction. Dems can’t stand losing. I’ll write the real book!”
Typifying the sense that what would once seem absurd now counts for normality in this White House, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was not the author of the op-ed which assailed Trump for “half baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless” leadership.
Pence and the President’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, tried to put the spotlight on the motives of the anonymous official, warning that there could be “criminal” dimensions to the op-ed, boosting Trump’s calls for a Justice Department investigation.
But the controversy is unlikely to ease in the week ahead. Woodward’s new book is due to be published on Tuesday, and the veteran journalist is promoting his damning account of the President’s leadership.
“People better wake up to what’s going on,” Woodward said on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” while touting “Fear: Trump in the White House” as a detailed inside account that mirrors the op-ed’s claims that a group of senior officials is working to save the nation and the world from Trump’s rash decisions.