by Jacob Greber
Washington | Fallout from Bob Woodward’s damning White House book has continued with former Trump advisors Gary Cohn and Rob Porter hitting out at the author for painting what they say is a misleading picture of the president and his administration.
The push-back coincides with polls showing a sharp collapse in Mr Trump’s voter support since the selected release last week of Mr Woodward’s book, as well as an anonymous New York Times Op-ed by a “senior administration official” describing a culture of internal resistance within the White House.
Mr Trump on Tuesday (AEST) tweeted that perhaps he should write the “real book” about his presidency.
The book went on sale across the US on Wednesday (AEST) and was an immediate hit. Amazon said it sold out of hard copies of the book within hours.
Mr Cohn is portrayed in the Woodward book Fear: Trump in the White House as removing documents from the president’s desk to avoid him signing damaging orders and fighting in vain to prevent a trade war.
“This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House,” Mr Cohn said in a statement to Axios. “I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration and I continue to support the president and his economic agenda.”
However, Mr Cohn did not dispute specific details of the book, adopting instead a blanket condemnation.
Former staff secretary, Mr Porter – who also features heavily in the account – adopted a similar line.
“Having now read Bob Woodward’s Fear, I am struck by the selective and often misleading portrait it paints of the President and his administration,” Mr Porter said.
The twin rebuttals come as Mr Trump’s approval ratings broke away from levels they have been stuck at for months – 43 per cent.
Over the last two weeks, eight polls showed the president’s ratings have fallen by an average 3.2 percentage points.
Less than two months out from the crucial mid-term elections, the slump is likely to alarm Republicans as they battle to retain control of Congress and maintain a bulwark for the president against any potential impeachment attempts.
A CNN poll released at the start of the week found Mr Trump’s approval had dropped to 36 per cent, from 42 per cent in August. And the same day, a poll from Quinnipiac University found Mr Trump’s approval at 38 per cent, from 41 per cent the month before.
The Quinnipiac poll also found that 55 per cent of Americans believe Mr Trump is not fit to serve as president, while 41 per cent said he is capable. Sixty-five per cent said the president is not level-headed and 42 per cent said he is not mentally stable.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from September 6 to 9, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 per cent.
The CNN poll, which was conducted fat the same time with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 per cent, found only 32 per cent of respondents who believe Mr Trump is “honest and trustworthy”. He got his highest marks for his handling of the economy at 49 per cent, while 35-36 per cent gave a thumbs up on his handling of immigration, foreign affairs and foreign trade.
The weekly approval poll from Gallup found Mr Trump’s approval slightly higher at 40 per cent, while Rasmussen Reports, which consistently reports higher approval ratings for the president than other polling outfits, put him at 47 per cent.
Last week, an ABC News-Washington Post poll found Trump’s approval rating was 36 per cent, matching his previous low in their polling. It put his disapproval number at 60 per cent, a new high.
The Real Clear Politics average put his approval at 41 per cent, its lowest point since March when Trump began to ramp up sanctions on imports into the US.
With USA Today