Defense Secretary Mattis Denies Comparing Trump to 'a Fifth- or Sixth-Grader'

Defense Secretary James Mattis said he never uttered the words attributed to him. Defense Secretary James Mattis said he never uttered the words attributed to him. Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill / National Guard Bureau

In his new book, investigative journalist Bob Woodward recounts a meeting in which President Trump wondered why the United States was working to maintain security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. “We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responded.

Woodward writes that after the meeting, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ” That’s via The Washington Post, which published bits from the book on Tuesday.

But the Defense secretary says he didn’t say thatLater in the day, the Pentagon released a statement by Mattis: “The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence. While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature…”

Read the whole statement, here.

Trump weighed in with a Tweet at 7:33 a.m. on Wednesday: 

This is an excerpt from the D-Brief. To read the whole D-Brief, click here

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