President Donald Trump Tuesday slammed a former White House employee — and even threatened legal action — over a new tell-all book describing the West Wing as a chaotic place occupied by a “team of vipers.”
Cliff Sims is making the rounds on television as he tries to sell his book about his time on Trump’s staff. The media blitz included a stop by CNN’s “New Day” morning show on Tuesday.
Simms told CNN the “atmosphere” created by Trump “encourages a lot of the infighting.” He described Tuesday the scene during which he and Trump were crafting the “enemies list” in the president’s private study just outside the Oval Office as a time he “lost myself” and his “moral compass.”
The former aide said he felt like he was dishing dirt unfairly about “people in the White House, who I felt were basically disloyal to him.”
Watch: 18 times Trump mentioned WikiLeaks
“But, really, the point of that story when I walk out of there as I sit back down at my desk, and I realized like, ‘Oh, like, I've kind of lost myself in this a little bit because there's nothing honorable about, you know, slamming your colleagues to, you know, our boss.’”
As Sims spoke, the president appeared to be watching from the White House residence; there was no U.S. Marine standing guard outside the West Wing at that time, a sign a commander in chief is inside the executive mansion’s office space or Oval Office.
The former Trump aide described the White House as “a tough place to work” and “highly competitive” because it is staffed by a “bunch of type A people.”
He wrote that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is a “cartoon villain brought to life,” prompting her to criticize him on Monday.
The book also covers internal West Wing rivalries, including an alleged one between former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. Simms claims Bannon viewed himself as Miller’s conservative hardline mentor, but the younger aide had other ideas.
Simms wrote about Miller “plung[ing] the knife” in Bannon’s back and “twisting it with relish” while talking to Trump. “Your polling numbers are actually very strong considering Steve won’t stop leaking to the press and trying to undermine Jared,” Miller said, according to Sims’ book. “If Steve wasn’t doing that, I bet you’d be ten points higher.”
For his part, the president used part of his Tuesday executive time to try to discredit yet another former White House aide, or observer, who has written unflattering books.
Trump took to twitter to dismissively call Simms merely a “low level staffer that I hardly knew,” saying he authored a “yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction.”
“He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!” the president wrote.
A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2019
As he was live on CNN, anchor Alisyn Camerota read his former boss’ tweet.
“Well,” he said, “there ya go.”
Former White House aide @Cliff_Sims, author of a new book on the Trump administration, discusses what he writes is Trump's reaction to winning Ohio in the 2016 election: “I’m gonna shove it up Kasich’s a--.”“For him, everything is personal,” Sims says. https://t.co/TBcAJdJJZP pic.twitter.com/lHF42v5Qmb — New Day (@NewDay) January 29, 2019