President Donald Trump holds deep contempt for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to Bob Woodward's new book Fear: Trump in the White House. In his book, Woodward writes that Trump referred to Sessions as a "traitor" and "dumb Southerner."
Excerpts of Fear were published by the Washington Post on Tuesday.
Trump called Sessions "mentally retarded": Woodward book https://t.co/81OGNYfDkC https://t.co/9B9pQTesr4— The Hill (@The Hill) 1536081728.0
Woodward writes that while speaking to then-staff secretary Rob Porter, Trump said Sessions was a "traitor" for recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Trump reportedly mocked Sessions' accent, calling him "mentally retarded." The president added:
He’s this dumb Southerner. … He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.
Trump's treatment of Sessions is an affront to his conservative base, a voting bloc that dominates the South and helped propel Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump swept the former Confederacy - including Sessions' home state of Alabama and its neighbors Mississippi and electoral-rich Florida - in large part because of southern white voter turnout.
Folks, as a Southern, I think Trump calling Sessions a “dumb Southerner” may be the most damning detail of this Woo… https://t.co/xvWXHD4E9P— Charles M. Blow (@Charles M. Blow) 1536081484.0
Sessions has drawn the ire of Trump as Mueller's team of prosecutors close in on the president. Most recently on Monday, Trump berated Sessions on Twitter for pursuing criminal charges against two Republican Congressman who supported his presidential run.
Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publ… https://t.co/QTG25ccvbp— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1535999125.0
....The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The… https://t.co/T0XacHhXgx— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1535999959.0
"I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in," Sessions later responded in a statement. "While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has described Trump's relationship with Sessions as "beyond repair."
Retiring Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker responded by saying Trump's treatment of Sessions is "unbecoming of a 71 or 72-year-old president."
Bob Corker to me about Trump's demeaning comments on Sessions in Woodward book: “If the president doesn’t like his… https://t.co/pJgGqKIcB9— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1536087673.0
Corker on Trump's criticism that DOJ is prosecuting Rs: "Left to his own accord, our country would look somewhat li… https://t.co/hV1z5EjTjW— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1536087850.0
Corker wasn't alone.
Republicans not happy with Trump reportedly calling Sessions a "dumb southerner" and "mentally retarded." "I resen… https://t.co/TvhkgKPa5q— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1536092113.0
Social media users threw Trump's words back into his face.
@thehill So much winning— Dogs Against Trump (@Dogs Against Trump) 1536082318.0
@thehill Projection.— j.Marie (@j.Marie) 1536081812.0
@thehill I think he may be on dodgy ground there— Paul Stop Brexit, Save the NHS (@Paul Stop Brexit, Save the NHS) 1536081782.0
@thehill @rpdandy Well ain’t that sweet.— Woody. (@Woody.) 1536082149.0
@thehill Projecting, as usual.— natalie singer (@natalie singer) 1536081890.0
@thehill Projecting much?— 🌊🌊AMBSINY🌊🌊#FBR (@🌊🌊AMBSINY🌊🌊#FBR) 1536081789.0
@thehill Trump hires only the best.— Timothy Kenison 🌊 #FearInoculum (@Timothy Kenison 🌊 #FearInoculum) 1536081926.0
Others within the president's inner orbit were also subject to his insults, Woodward claims.
Trump didn't hold back on anyone.
Per Woodward book Mattis on Trump: Like "a fifth- or sixth-grader.” Kelly on Trump: “idiot” Cohn on Trump: “prof… https://t.co/iyAp11RC4E— Peter Baker (@Peter Baker) 1536078232.0
Trump allegedly maligned former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, telling Porter he's
"like a little rat. He just scurries around."
Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster felt the sting of Trump's disdain too, according to Woodward. Trump, while mimicking McMaster's mannerisms, reportedly said the former general dressed "like a beer salesman."
Woodward says the Trump also insulted Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "I don’t trust you," Trump said to Ross. "I don’t want you doing any more negotiations. … You’re past your prime."
Trump expressed additional frustration with the National Security Council last year, according to Woodward. At one meeting, Woodward writes, Trump thrashed his military advisers over the lack of progress in the War in Afghanistan.
"The soldiers on the ground could run things much better than you," Trump told generals on the NSC. "They could do a much better job. I don’t know what the hell we’re doing." Trump then added: "How many more deaths? How many more lost limbs? How much longer are we going to be there?"