Donald Trump has rejected doubts over his mental health raised in a bombshell new book, describing the book as “fiction” and the author as a “fraud”.
His remarks followed an earlier rebuttal on Twitter, in which the president claimed he was a “very stable genius” who was “like, very smart”.
Michael Wolff’s new book suggests that even the president’s closest advisors question his fitness for office.
The row has overshadowed key talks on the Republican party’s 2018 agenda.
Addressing the questions about his mental capacity, he said: “I went to the best colleges, I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people, went to television and for 10 years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard.”
He disputed Mr Wolff’s claim of a three-hour on the record interview between the two. “It didn’t exist, it’s in his imagination,” Mr Trump said, while acknowledging that he had been interviewed by the author at some point.
In his tweets addressing some of the points raised in the book he said;
The book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, paints a picture of the president as impatient, unable to grasp policy, and prone to rambling and repeating himself.
The fallout from the book has loomed over the Camp David meeting – a gathering of key Republicans designed to thrash out legislative priorities for 2018.
The book everyone’s talking about
Fire and Fury went on sale early on Friday, days ahead of its scheduled release, amid the president lawyers’ attempts to block its publication. It has become an instant bestseller.
The book describes a Trump team shocked by their own win on election night, White House staffers saying Mr Trump’s “mental powers were slipping”, and senior administration officials calling Mr Trump an “idiot”.
It has also sparked a public rift between Mr Trump and his former aide Steve Bannon, who is quoted as accusing Mr Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr of “treasonous” behaviour in meeting a group of Russians.
Mr Bannon and the author have both been the target of the president’s ire over the past few days – the former cried when he lost his job last year, Mr Trump said; the latter had written a book “full of lies”, he added.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CNN that he had “no reason to question” Mr Trump’s mental fitness.