Jan 17, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump in new Michael Schmidt afterword: "What the f---?"

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Cover: Random House

New York Times legal scoop machine Mike Schmidt has new nuggets from the Oval Office in a 12,000-word afterword for the paperback edition of his bestselling "Donald Trump v. The United States."

The big picture: After retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly became White House chief of staff in 2017, he found President Trump "had no grasp on the basics of American foreign policy," Schmidt writes.

  • "Why did we go to war in North Korea?" Trump would ask Kelly. "Why the f--- are we in NATO?"

"Trump seemed to have no interest in — and be confused by — Kelly's explanation that nations created a deterrence against Russia by committing to a collective defense," Schmidt continues in the new edition, out Tuesday.

  • "What the f---?" Trump said.

Kelly would tell aides:

"He has this thing that he knows more than the generals, the economists, the geologists. He is incapable of saying, 'I don't know anything; I need some advice.'"

Go deeper: Read Chapter 1 + listen to an audio sample (read by Mike Schmidt).

Go deeper