President Donald Trump repeatedly berated U.S. military leaders while throwing a massive fit during a Pentagon meeting in 2017, according to “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America,” a book penned by Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
An excerpt from the book describes how Trump’s meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. and flag officials on July 20, 2017 (arranged by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and then-National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn) went completely off the rails.
The temper tantrum began when Trump started complaining about the “loser war” in Afghanistan and demanded to know “where is the fucking oil” that he felt the U.S. deserved for its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
“You’re all losers,” he told them. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”
It didn’t end there; According to Leonnig and Rucker, Trump became so angry that “he wasn’t taking many breaths” and bellowed to the commanders in a fit of rage, “I wouldn’t go to war with you people.”
“You’re a bunch of dopes and babies,” he shouted.
Everyone in the room was shocked.
“How does the commander in chief say that?” one participant thought, according to the Post. “What would our worst adversaries think if they knew he said this?”
Trump’s attack was apparently Tillerson’s breaking point.
“No, that’s just wrong,” he said to Trump. “Mr. President, you’re totally wrong. None of that is true.”
The secretary of state asserted that those who join the military “don’t do it to become soldiers of fortune.”
“That’s not why they put on a uniform and go out and die,” he said. “They do it to protect our freedom.”
In a private conversation with Cohn and Mattis right after the meeting, Tillerson let loose and made the infamous comment about Trump that would get leaked to the press a few months later.
“He’s a fucking moron,” the secretary of state said.