The key figures at the center of the most explosive allegations in Bob Woodward's book are pushing back

Getty Images/PoolGary Cohn.

  • Gary Cohn, the former chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump, has pushed back on the veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
  • The former White House staff secretary Rob Porter also disputed his characterization in the book.
  • Cohn and Porter feature heavily in the book, and some of the most explosive allegations in it revolve around the two.
  • “This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House,” Cohn told the news website Axios.


Two people central to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward‘s new book pushed back on Tuesday on how they were characterised in it.

“This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House,” Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s former top economic adviser, told the news website Axios in a statement. “I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration, and I continue to support the President and his economic agenda.”

Cohn is quoted extensively in the book, titled “Fear: Trump in the White House,” and the relationship between the former Goldman Sachs executive and Trump is a focus of Woodward’s reporting.

Some of the more explosive allegations in the book also deal with Cohn, such as that he stole documents off Trump’s desk to prevent the president from pulling the US out of major trade deals.

In his statement to Axios, Cohn did not deny any specific allegations made in the book.

The former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, another key figure in the book, also issued a statement on Woodward’s reporting.

“Having now read Bob Woodward’s Fear, I am struck by the selective and often misleading portrait it paints of the President and his administration,” Porter said.

Porter, the other White House official named in the document-theft anecdote in Woodward’s book, also addressed that in his statement.

“The suggestion that materials were ‘stolen’ from the President’s desk to prevent his signature misunderstands how the White House document review process works – and has worked for at least the last eight administrations,” he said.

According to Woodward’s book, Porter was concerned when the president demanded an order pulling the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Most economists have said that a dissolution of NAFTA would be an economic disaster for the three member countries: the US, Canada, and Mexico.

After Porter told Cohn about Trump’s request, the economic adviser decided to take the document off the president’s desk to prevent him from signing it, the book says.

“I can stop this,” Cohn told Porter, per Woodward’s book. “I’ll just take the paper off his desk before I leave.”

According to Axios, Cohn’s and Porter’s outsize roles in the book have led Trump and other administration officials to assume they were sources for Woodward. The author has said that “Fear” is based on extensive interviews with former and current members of the Trump administration and that many interviews were taped.

While the White House has denounced Woodward’s book, the scenes of dysfunction described in it are similar to other reports about the chaotic nature of the Trump administration.

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