Donald Trump berated his White House staff for not telling him that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to set up a phone call with him in the early days of his presidency, a new book claims.
The book, Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos, delves into the often fraught relationship that Trump had with top White House officials and military leaders. As author and national security expert Peter Bergen wrote, Trump was prone to explosive blow-ups, like the time he berated former national security adviser Michael Flynn for holding off a call with Putin.
As Business Insider recounts, the incident took place within the first days after Trump took office in January of 2017. Trump had his first official visit from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who asked Trump if he had yet spoken with Putin. Trump told May that he had not.
As the report noted, Flynn was nearby and leaned in to tell Trump that Putin had actually called several days before that, but the White House was not able to set up the call.
This enraged Trump, the book claimed.
"Are you kidding me? Vladimir Putin tried to call me, and you didn't put him through? What the hell were you thinking?" Trump said.
Flynn explained that Trump had many other obligations, but Trump said Putin was "the only man on earth who can destroy us" and continued to lambaste staff for not connecting the two earlier.
"What kind of bullsh*t is this? How is it possible that Putin calls me and you don't put the call through? I don't know what you guys are doing," Trump told senior White House members in private, the book claimed.
Trump has had a controversial relationship with Putin, frequently meeting with the Russian president and displaying a warm relationship despite a consensus from American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on direct orders from Putin.
Trump has publicly sided with Putin after he denied that Russia interfered, and Trump has taken significant efforts to keep the subject of their closed-door conversations private.