Trump administration officials came to the defense of President Donald Trump against claims in a salacious new book that people around the president question his mental fitness and intelligence.
Senior administration officials and White House aides appearing on Sunday morning political talk shows pushed back against claims made in “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley suggested to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the book is an example of “the lengths people will go to to lie for money and for power.”
“No one questions the stability of the president,” Haley said.
Stephanopoulos asked, “So, you’re not concerned that those close to the president don’t have his interests at heart?”
“I’m around them all the time,” Haley said. “I see these people put everything they have got into their jobs and into respecting and trusting the president. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be there.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo refuted claims that the president doesn’t read and has trouble staying focused as “absurd” and “pure fantasy.”
When anchor Chris Wallace asked directly about the president’s fitness for office, Pompeo paused briefly, then explained his reason for doing so.
“Completely fit. I mean, I paused only because it’s just a ludicrous question,” the CIA chief said.
Wallace noted that the CIA does psychological profiles of world leaders and asked what he would say about “a world leader who refers to himself as ‘a very stable genius,'” as Trump did in a tweet Saturday.
“I’m not going to dignify the question with a response,” Pompeo said.
White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller meanwhile squabbled with anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” and echoed the president’s own characterization of Wolff’s book as “fiction”.
“The book is best understood as a work of poorly-written fiction,” Miller said. “The author is a garbage author of a garbage book.”
He added, “The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him.”
Tapper at one point cut Miller off to tell him to cool his jets.
“Stephen, settle down, settle down, calm down,” Tapper said.
After a heated back-and-forth that went on for some time as Tapper tried to direct the interview, the anchor seemed to cut the interview short.
“I get it,” Tapper said. “There is one viewer that you care about right now, and you’re being obsequious, you’re being a factotum to please him, okay, and I think I’ve wasted enough of our viewers’ time.”
Trump saw it differently, tweeting that Miller “destroyed” Tapper in the interview.