Trump called top national-security officials 'losers,' 'dopes and babies' when they tried to walk him through the basics of US diplomacy, an explosive new book says

AP Photo/Evan VucciPresident Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a White House meeting in November 2017.
  • A July 2017 meeting between President Donald Trump and top national-security officials went disastrously wrong, according to an excerpt from a new book by two Washington Post reporters.
  • The officials hoped to teach Trump about the basics of America’s global role, but the president grew irate and started insulting US military leaders, according to the excerpt of “A Very Stable Genius,” set to be released Tuesday.
  • “I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump reportedly told the officials, adding, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”
  • There was stunned silence in the room, with some officials feeling “sick to their stomachs,” the book’s authors wrote.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the only official to stand up to the president that day, the authors said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump hurled insults at top officials in an extraordinary outburst in a Pentagon meeting to educate the president about the US’s role in the world, according to an excerpt of an explosive new book about the White House.

According to The Washington Post’s excerpt from “A Very Stable Genius,” written by the Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig and set to be released on Tuesday, the incident took place in a secure meeting room called “the Tank” in July 2017.

The book said the meeting was convened by top members of Trump’s national-security team, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who have all since left the administration.

The three men were reportedly concerned about Trump’s ignorance of geography, history, and military strategy and wanted to bring him up to speed.

“Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson and their aides decided to use maps, graphics, and charts to tutor the president, figuring they would help keep him from getting bored,” Rucker and Leonnig wrote. “Mattis opened with a slide show punctuated by lots of dollar signs.”

Trump, however, reportedly grew irate, demanding to know why the US wasn’t seeking payment from allies in Europe and South Korea for military forces stationed there and berating top brass over the failures of US strategy in Afghanistan.

James Mattis and Donald TrumpChris Kleponis-Pool/Getty ImagesTrump and former Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

“You’re all losers,” Trump reportedly said. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”

The book said Trump launched into an astonishing personal attack on the officials.

“I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump reportedly told them, adding, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

Describing the stunned silence in the room after the president’s diatribe, the book said: “So many people in that room had gone to war and risked their lives for their country, and now they were being dressed down by a president who had not. They felt sick to their stomachs.”

Trump meetingOliver Douliery/Pool-Getty ImagesTrump at a White House meeting.

According to the book, the only official who rebuked Trump was Tillerson, who interrupted the president when he said the US should make money from troop deployments.

“The men and women who put on a uniform don’t do it to become soldiers of fortune,” Tillerson reportedly said. “That’s not why they put on a uniform and go out and die … They do it to protect our freedom.”

The reporter Bob Woodward described the same meeting in “Fear,” his 2018 book about the Trump White House. But the details in Rucker and Leonnig’s account had not been reported before.

According to Woodward, Tillerson called Trump a “f—ing moron” after the meeting. Trump sacked Tillerson in March 2018, reportedly by tweet.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the book.

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