President Trump speaks during cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington
President Trump speaks during cabinet meeting at the White House in WashingtonReuters

President Donald Trump attacked veteran journalist Bob Woodward late Tuesday night over his upcoming book on the Trump presidency, entitled Fear.

Set for release next Tuesday, the book claims that President Trump ordered the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad after the Syrian regime launched a chemical weapons attack on its own people in April, 2017.

According to Woodward's account, Trump called Secretary of Defense James Mattis and ordered Mattis to kill Assad immediately after learning about the attack in which at least 80 people were killed.

“Let’s f--king kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f--king lot of them,” Trump allegedly told Mattis.

The Secretary of Defense told the President that he would do it, but when he hung up the phone he told his aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.”

Excerpts released from the new book also claim that the president derided Attorney General Jeff Sessions, allegedly calling him “a dumb Southerner” who is “mentally retarded”. Woodward also claimed that Trump’s chief of staff General John Kelly referred to Trump as an “idiot”.

But the Trump administration pushed back hard against the claims, with a series of statements by General Kelly, Defense Secretary Mattis, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders calling the quotes fabrications.

“The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true,” said Kelly. “In fact it’s exactly the opposite.”

Mattis called the quotes attributed to him “fiction” and the “product of someone’s rich imagination”.

“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, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

Sanders released a statement calling the claims “fabricated stories”, blaming “former disgruntled employees”.

President Trump responded personally to the book in a series of tweets, calling the book a “con on the public”.

“The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”

“The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!”