Watergate journalist: Trump wanted to assassinate Assad after chemical attack
US President Donald Trump wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following the April 2017 chemical attack on Idlib, journalist Bob Woodward wrote in his book titled ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’.
According to the Washington Post which published details from Woodward’s book, Trump called Defense Secretary James Mattis and said he wanted to kill Assad.
“Let’s kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the lot of them,” Woodward reported Trump as saying.
Mattis agreed with the president, and said he would “get right on it” according to the newspaper. But after hanging up with Trump, Mattis told a senior aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.”
It was then that they decided on a more conventional airstrike that trump had ultimately ordered.
The publication of Woodward's book has been anticipated for weeks, and current and former White House officials estimate that nearly all their colleagues cooperated with the famed Watergate journalist. Woodward is known for being involved in the takedown of President Nixon in the infamous Watergate scandal.
The White House, in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Tuesday dismissed the book as "nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad."
The book quotes chief of staff John Kelly as having doubts about Trump's mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, "We're in Crazytown." It also says he called Trump an "idiot," an account that Kelly denied.
"The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true," Kelly said in a statement Tuesday.