WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump returned fire with both barrels Wednesday against criticism leveled at him in a new book that says he never expected - or wanted - to win the White House, his victory left his wife in tears and a senior adviser thought his son’s contact with a Russian lawyer during the campaign was “treasonous.”
Trump released a formal statement railing against his former chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, insisting Bannon had little to do with his victorious campaign and “has nothing to do with me or my Presidency.”
“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said.
The statement came in response to an unflattering new book by writer Michael Wolff that paints Trump as a juvenile in many ways who doesn’t understand the weight of the presidency and spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the phone to his old friends.
Trump seemed most angry at comments made by Bannon and first reported by The Guardian, which obtained an early copy of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
According to The Guardian, Bannon described a Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
Bannon also told Wolff that the investigations into potential collusion between Russia and Trump campaign officials would likely focus on money laundering.
“They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” The Guardian quoted Bannon as saying.
A spokeswoman for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
But the former White House chief strategist was not surprised or particularly bothered by the blowback, according to a person familiar with Bannon’s thinking but not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.