Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon had so much disdain for former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that he once used a vulgar sexual term to describe their uneasy alliance during the 2016 presidential campaign.
That’s according to Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” which has been making headlines all week with juicy tidbits and political bombshells about the inner workings of the campaign and the administration.
In the late summer of 2016, when Donald Trump’s presidential bid appeared to be in shambles, campaign chairman Paul Manafort was dismissed and Bannon was brought on board. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, had to cozy up to Priebus and the RNC out of necessity.
“Polls showed only 70 percent of Republicans were for Trump,” Woodward writes of the outlook in August 2016. “They needed 90 percent. That meant getting the party apparatus on Trump’s side.”
Bannon, according to the book, told Priebus, whom he had met only once years earlier: “Look, you don’t know me...I need to have you here this afternoon. And this girl [GOP operative] Katie Walsh, who I just hear is a superstar.”
Bannon, Woodward wrote, “wanted to be sure that the RNC was not going to leave Trump” because “there were rumors about donors fleeing and how everyone in the party was trying to figure a way out of the Trump mess.”
Bannon, according to the book, told Priebus they had to work as a team.
“As Bannon later remarked with his trademark profanity, ‘I reached out and sucked Reince Preibus’ dick on August 15 and told the establishment, we can’t win without you.’”
Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast about the anecdote in the book– which Trump has blasted as being full of “lies and phony sources.” Here are some of the other revelations in “Fear” that have trickled out ahead of its official publication: :
- Trump mocked Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ accent and called him “mentally retarded”: According to the book, Trump called Sessions a “traitor” after he recused himself from the Russia probe. “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner… He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama,” the president reportedly said in a passage first reported by The Washington Post.
- White House lawyer John Dowd wanted to prevent Trump from testifying to Mueller: Woodward writes that Dowd, who left the team, explained to special counsel Robert Mueller that he didn’t want his client testifying and looking like “an idiot.”
- Chief of Staff John Kelly called Trump an “idiot”: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had,” Woodward’s book claims Kelly said to colleagues. Kelly has denied the claim.
- Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn would steal documents from the president’s desk to prevent him from signing them.
- Trump ordered Defense Secretary James Mattis to “fucking kill” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after he launched a chemical attack on civilians.
The book also describes an early 2010 meeting between Bannon, Trump and David Bossie, who served as deputy campaign manager on the Trump campaign. Trump was toying with a presidential run against then-President Barack Obama and Bossie was walking the would-be candidate through potential liabilities, including Trump’s “record of giving to the abortion guys, the pro-choice candidates,” the book said.
“I’m against abortion,” Trump said, according to Woodward’s book. “I’m pro-life.”
“Well, you’ve got a track record,” Bossie said.
“That can be fixed,” Trump said. “You just tell me how to fix that. I’m—what do you call it? Pro-life. I’m pro-life, I’m telling you.”
Bannon, according to the book, initially viewed Trump as “Archie Bunker, but a really focused Archie Bunker.”
Later in the conversation, Woodward writes, Bannon attempted to sell Trump on populism, which was, in his estimation,animating the Tea Party.
“I love that. That’s what I am,” Trump said, “a popularist.” He mangled the word.
“No, no,” Bannon said. “It’s populist.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Trump insisted. “A popularist.”