Haley Advises Readers of Woodward’s Trump Book to ‘Take it With a Grain of Salt’

By Patrick Goodenough | September 4, 2018 | 10:29 PM EDT

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley speaks to the press in New York on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Screen capture: U.N. Webcast)

(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley was invited by a CNN correspondent Tuesday to comment on the harsh criticism of President Trump in a new Bob Woodward book – and advised him and readers to “take it with a grain of salt.”

Haley began her reply by saying she was not aware of what appeared in the excerpts of the book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” that have now been published ahead of its forthcoming release.

“What I can tell you is what I know,” she told reporters at the U.N. “The president has been a great partner to me on foreign security. I meet with him often, I talk with him often. When I have concerns I bring them to him. He listens. He’s respectful. And he engages back.”

“If there are people who say certain things in the book,” Haley said, “I’ll just tell you to take it with a grain of salt, like we’ve done every book before.”

She said people read in these types of books what they want to read and “see what they want to see.”

“This, like every other book that has come out, and every book that’s going to come out, you’re going to have a certain group of readers that love the book and want to talk about all the salacious parts of the book, and you’re going to have a lot of people who denounce the book and say, ‘this is what divides America,’” she said.

“You’ll have some who love it and some who hate it, based on what they think of the president.”

The question came from CNN’s Richard Roth, who said the book by the veteran Washington Post journalist “portrays a devastating portrait of senior Trump administration aides hiding documents, exasperated with the president, increasingly worried about erratic behavior, ignorance, penchant for lying.”

On Twitter, Trump posted statements by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, both denying statements attributed to them in the book.

“The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true, in fact it’s exactly the opposite,” said the Kelly statement. “As I stated back in May and still firmly stand behind: ‘I spend more time with the President than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS. I’m committed to the President, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.’”

“The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence,” said the Mattis statement in part. “While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

“In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone’s rich imagination,” Mattis said.

Woodward writes that Mattis had complained after a conversation during a National Security Council meeting about the U.S. military presence in South Korea “that the president acted like – and had the understanding of – ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’”

Trump tweeted on Tuesday evening: “The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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