The new book Fear: Trump in the White House by Pulitzer-Prize-winning Watergate journalist Bob Woodward contains a series of revelations highlighting chaos inside the Donald Trump administration and reveals Trump’s own behind-the-scenes feeling about moments in his term so far and members of his administration — including that Trump called a speech condemning neo-Nazis “the biggest f*****g mistake I’ve made” and the “worst speech I’ve ever given,” according to a summary of the book by the Washington Post, the paper that has employed Woodward since 1971.
The book also reveals Trump’s true feelings about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump has frequently attacked via Twitter including as recently as yesterday, as Vox reports. While Trump has lambasted Sessions on Twitter, Trump’s private opinion of the former Alabama senator — who on February 28 of 2016, as Politico reported — became the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump — is even lower than the low opinion he has expressed in public.
According to Woodward, Trump privately mocks Sessions’ southern accent — and has leveled blunt and tasteless insults at Sessions behind his back, according to a summary of the Woodward book by The Daily Beast.
“This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner,” Trump said of Sessions, per Woodward’s book. “He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”
On November 18, 2016, less than two weeks after he won the 2016 presidential election, Trump nominated Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General, CNN reported. Sessions served as senator from Alabama from 1996 until he stepped down to take the Attorney General’s appointment in January of 2017, CNN reports. Before that, he served as United States attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and his home state’s attorney general.
CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins said that Trump’s comments could offend southern voters who have supported Sessions — and Trump.
Jeff Sessions was an esteemed Alabama senator for 20 years, beloved by many in the state. The first sitting senator to endorse Trump. Wonder what the 1.3 million Alabama residents who voted for Trump think of him calling Sessions a mentally retarded, dumb Southerner traitor?
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 4, 2018
But by July of 2017, Trump had soured on Sessions, largely because Sessions recused himself from any matters to do with the 2016 campaign or Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in that campaign, as Business Insider reported at the time. The recusal meant that Sessions became ineligible to manage the Russia investigation run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Sessions has also refused to bring politically motivated prosecutions against Trump’s adversaries, a fact which appears to have angered Trump. “Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!” Trump wrote on Twitter in February of this year.