US President Donald Trump on Saturday praised himself as a very stable genius, following the release of a bombshell book that raises doubts over his mental health.
But Trump’s response to the book’s allegations, in tweets and in remarks made during a hastily convened news conference at his Camp David presidential retreat, had Washington focusing anew on the question of his stability and mental state.
In a series of extraordinary early-morning tweets, Trump said that “throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.”
“I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”
The new supposed tell-all book — Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — was rushed into stores Friday after the Trump administration failed to suppress it.
The book quickly sold out in Washington, where it has been the talk of the town, and rocketed to the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list.
At Camp David, where Trump was meeting with top Republican lawmakers and cabinet members to set an agenda for the coming year, he seemed eager to focus attention on legislative priorities including immigration reform, a budget plan and infrastructure spending.
But he also forcefully pushed back against Wolff’s claim to having spent hours interviewing Trump.
“I did a quick interview with this guy a long time ago, having to do with an article, but I don’t know this man,” Trump said. The idea of a long White House interview was “in his imagination.”
Trump said the book was “a disgrace” and suggested the United States needs stronger libel laws.
The president earlier decried the work as “full of lies,” while the White House issued a scorched-earth dismissal of both the author and his sources. In tweets Friday, Trump called Wolff “a total loser.”
Trump’s stability has been questioned by critics almost since he declared his candidacy for the presidency. They cite remarks and tweets they say show him as impulsive, petulant and erratic.
Yet the sensational details in the new book and Trump’s continued defense of his mental health have wrenched attention away from policy and news of US financial markets hitting all-time highs, bringing even more scrutiny over whether the US leader is fit for office.