President Donald Trump has been critical in the past of leaked information attributed to “White House officials” as they made their way into the headlines, and an explosive memoir from a former White House aide makes some claims about how the president tried to combat the situation behind the scenes, Axios reported.
Cliff Sims, a former White House communications aide, describes in his new book — Team of Vipers: My Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House — how he was summoned by the chief of staff to help compile a list of staff members he could and could not trust.
Sims, who joined the White House communications staff last January and left a few months later in May, per the Hill, explained that he was instructed by the president to meet him in his private study — though he was to slip in through the back to avoid senior staff — and detailed their conversation in a passage from his book.
“Give me their names,” Sims recounts the president saying. “I want these people out of here. I’m going to take care of this. We’re going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders.”
Together they allegedly went over a hefty list of White House staffers, essentially judging their loyalty. President Trump purportedly scrawled on two note cards, creating a list of people he could trust — and an even longer list of those he could not.
“Only in retrospect did I see how remarkable this was,” Sims writes in the upcoming memoir. “I was sitting there with the President of the United States basically compiling an enemies list — but these enemies were within his own administration.”
In his new book, 'Team of Vipers', former WH communications aide Cliff Sims describes how he was clandestinely slipped through the private dining room and ushered into Trump's private study in 2017 as the president demanded the names of leakers. https://t.co/WH11zDSQ50
— Axios (@axios) January 18, 2019
He continued, comparing the meeting to the moment in a horror movie “when everyone suddenly realizes the call is coming from inside the house.”
Ultimately, they reportedly put together a list of ten names the president believed he could not trust, and five that he could. Those deemed trustworthy were either campaign alumni or staffers that shared the Trump name.
Sims’ book is yet another addition to a list of tell-alls that have come from former members of the Trump administration, including one from Omarosa Manigault Newman and George Papadopoulos.
According to Politico, Team of Vipers has been described as a “thoughtful and introspective portrayal” of Sims’ time working with the president, and does not aim to be a “takedown” nor a praise-piece, but rather a “middle ground” recount of his experience.