US President Donald Trump shakes hands with the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 5, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM
US President Donald Trump denied Wednesday having discussed wanting to kill Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, a key claim in a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
“That was never even contemplated,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office as he met with the emir of Kuwait.
In his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Woodward recounts that the president told Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that he wanted to have Assad killed after he carried out a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017.
“Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Woodward quotes Trump as saying.
He writes that Mattis told the president he would “get right on it” but then came back later with plans for a more limited air strike.
Trump and White House aides have assailed the book as full of “made up stories,” and in a tweet on Wednesday morning the president wondered why Congress doesn’t change the laws on libel.
“The book means nothing. It’s a work of fiction,” Trump said at the photo spray, noting that Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly had both issues statements rejecting the book’s account.