Allies come to Trump's defence over new book Fire And Fury

Copies of the book Fire And Fury by author Michael Wolff displayed at a store in California. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump on Sunday (Jan 7) assailed as a "Fake Book" an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions his fitness for office, as allies lined up to defend him.

The White House has been pushing back hard against the unflattering portrayal of the President in Fire And Fury, a supposed tell-all book by Mr Michael Wolff that extensively quotes Mr Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

In his own defence, Mr Trump said Mr Bannon had "lost his mind" and later tweeted that the instant bestseller - which paints him as disengaged, ill-informed and unstable, with signs of serious memory loss - was a "Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author".

Here are what some of Mr Trump's aides and allies have said in his defence while slamming both Mr Wolff and Mr Bannon:

REX TILLERSON: No reason to question Trump's mental fitness

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a news conference in Canada. PHOTO: REUTERS

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was obliged to defend Mr Trump after being asked during a CNN interview on Friday about claims that the President has a short attention span, regularly repeats himself and refuses to read briefing notes.

"I've never questioned his mental fitness," said Mr Tillerson, whose office was last year forced to deny reports that he had referred to Mr Trump as a "moron" after a national security meeting.

"I have no reason to question his mental fitness."

STEPHEN MILLER: Trump a 'political genius'

White House policy advisor Stephen Miller a an official dinner thrown by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in honour of US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr Trump's senior policy adviser treated the book derisively while insisting that his boss was in fact "a political genius", in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

Mr Miller, who eviscerated Mr Bannon over comments attributed to him in the book, told CNN that "it reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author" and that Mr Bannon's "grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality".

"The book is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book... The betrayal of the President in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him," Mr Miller continued.

He added that the "whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments".

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Book a 'complete fantasy'

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a news conference where she faced questions regarding US President Donald Trump's statement saying that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon 'lost his mind'. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

At a briefing, the White House press secretary slammed Mr Wolff's book as a "complete fantasy" filled with tabloid gossip.

"It's sad, pathetic, and our administration, our focus, is going to be on moving the country forward," she added.

"It's absolutely outrageous to make these types of allegations" about Mr Trump's mental fitness, Ms Sanders later said on Fox News on Friday.

They are "desperate attempts" to attack Mr Trump, she said. "What I think is really mentally unstable" is people not seeing the progress Mr Trump is making.

"This is a guy who made up a lot of stories to try to sell books," she added, referring to Mr Wolff.

NIKKI HALEY: Wolff would 'lie for money and power'

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at UN headquarters in New York. PHOTO: REUTERS

The US ambassador to the United Nations told ABC that no one at the White House "questions the stability of the President".

She further suggested that Mr Wolff was someone who would "lie for money and for power".

MIKE POMPEO: Trump an 'avid consumer' of CIA reports

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo arriving for a closed briefing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. PHOTO: REUTERS

The CIA director appeared on Fox News Sunday and insisted that Mr Wolff's portrayal of Mr Trump was "just pure fantasy".

Mr Pompeo said: "The President is engaged, he understands the complexity, he asks really difficult questions of our team at the CIA."

He also described Mr Trump as an "avid consumer" of the agency's intelligence.

SEAN SPICER: Accuracy of book definitely in question

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer at a ceremony recognising the first responders to a June 14 shooting involving a congressman. PHOTO: REUTERS

The former White House press secretary told cable channel HLN in an interview that,"there is no question that the accuracy of this book is definitely in question".

He said the idea that Mrs Melania Trump was crying "is nonsense". He asserted that several quotes attributed to him and to other people "frankly never happened".

REBEKAH MERCER: I support President Trump

Billionaire conservative donor Rebekah Mercer rebuked Mr Bannon in a statement on Thursday and said she and her father Robert Mercer, the former co-chief executive of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, would not finance his projects.

The Mercers and their fortune have been a mainstay of Mr Bannon's political operation. "I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected," Ms Mercer said.

"My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements."

STEVE BANNON: 'Unwavering' support for the president

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon at a campaign event for Republican candidate for US Senate Judge Roy Moore in Fairhope, Alabama. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Following harsh criticism from Mr Trump and his allies, Mr Bannon expressed "regret" for comments attributed to him in the book, according to a statement he provided to the political website Axios.

"My support is also unwavering for the President and his agenda," Mr Bannon said in the statement on Sunday.


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