Trump Screamed At Pentagon Leaders And Told Them They Were ‘Dopes’ And ‘Babies’

President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform during a meeting in the Oval Office on December 5, 2017. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: