Donald Trump drafted a tweet that North Korea would have seen as ‘attack is imminent’: Woodward
Woodward made the comments to CBS News on Sunday, while promoting his book Fear: Trump in the White House.
The book has already given many explosive accounts of the inner workings of the White House, through “hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, [and] personal diaries,” according to its official description.
Woodward told CBS that during exchanges with North Korea last year, Trump focused on the fact that the U.S. paid $3.5 billion a year to have troops in South Korea, saying “I don’t know why they’re there,” and asking why the U.S. has 28,000 troops stationed there.
According to Woodward’s book, Secretary of Defense James Mattis responded to the latter questions saying “We’re doing this in order to prevent World War Three.”
Woodward told CBS that the most dangerous moment came when Trump worked on another tweet.
“He drafts a tweet saying ‘We are going to pull out dependents from South Korea … Family members of the 28,000 people there,'” he said.
Woodward alleges the tweet was never sent because the White House received information from a back-channel communication with North Korea saying the country would take a pullout of dependents as a sign that Trump and the U.S. were planning to attack.
“At that moment there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that, ‘My God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as an attack is imminent,'” Woodward told CBS.
Trump and the White House have denounced the book – which also describes the work of top officials to undermine the president – as a work of fiction, but Woodward has said he stands by his reporting.
The veteran journalist is best known for working with Carl Bernstein to report on Watergate for the Washington Post, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.
In a Monday morning tweet, Trump again criticized the book, calling Woodward a liar.
Replying to criticism for using anonymous sources, Woodward told NBC News Monday morning, “The incidents are not anonymous. It gives a date, it gives a time, who participates, most often the president himself and what he says.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.