Award winning investigative reporter Bob Woodward recently announced a new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, covering the latest resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Woodward gleaned the material from “interviews with first-hand sources caught on hundreds of hours of tape” as well as “meeting notes, files, documents and personal diaries.”
But President Donald Trump appeared unhappy to receive the Woodward treatment. He launched a Twitter campaign blasting Woodward and got signed statements from several of his remaining White House senior staff disavowing any participation in the book.
In another effort to discredit Woodward‘s book on Twitter, the President claimed the book got his speaking habits wrong. He posted:
“The Woodward book is a scam. I don’t talk the way I am quoted. If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up.”
The Woodward book is a scam. I don’t talk the way I am quoted. If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up. The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle. I wish the people could see the real facts – and our country is doing GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2018
But did the book get it wrong? While Trump said yes, The New York Times said no. And then The Times backed it up.
One of the quotes Trump disputes involves him referring to embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The book quotes Trump calling Sessions “mentally retarded” and a “dumb Southerner.” Trump took to Twitter to deny the quotes. He stated:
“Woodward book…has me calling Jeff Sessions ‘mentally retarded’ and ‘a dumb southerner.’ I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff…”
The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Attacking the intelligence of others frequently occurs on Trump’s Twitter feed, but the use of “mentally retarded” does not. However Trump used the phrase “mentally retarded” on recorded radio shows.
Trump got caught on tape using the terms “retarded” or “mentally retarded.” In a Howard Stern show appearance on April 16, 2004, Trump used the phrase to refer to a reporter who criticized him. He said:
“I know I was criticized in one magazine where the writer was retarded, he said: ‘Donald Trump put up $7 million, they put up $193 million and they are 50/50 partners. Why isn’t Donald Trump putting up more money?’ And you know it is supposed to be because I am smart.”
In September 2004, Trump used it again. He said:
“I have a golf pro who’s mentally retard—I mean he’s really not a smart guy. And I’m playing golf and I’m thinking about what I’m going to tell NBC and this golf pro comes up to me and tells me, ‘Yeah, but your show is an hour and Friends is a half-hour’.”
The Daily Beast reported in 2016 that Trump also used “retarded” to refer to actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, when she appeared on his television show Celebrity Apprentice.
As for his use of “dumb Southerner,” someone with established ties to the President went on the record stating he said it. Her name is Jeane MacIntosh. But what is her connection to Trump?