In Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House, the famed journalist described an odd situation which insinuated that our president doesn’t have object permanence. Per The Washington Post’s description of a passage in Woodward’s book:
[Former economic adviser, Gary] Cohn, a Wall Street veteran, tried to tamp down Trump’s strident nationalism regarding trade. According to Woodward, Cohn “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice that it was missing.
Woodward also reported that Cohn said “I stole it off his desk. I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.”
Cohn pushed back against the book after it was released, but did not give any specifics as to what was inaccurate, when he told Axios “This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House. I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration, and I continue to support the President and his economic agenda.”
Yesterday, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said at an event held by Perry World House, “I know about that incident and that was wholly appropriate for Gary Cohn, who was a wonderful public servant and a great colleague, to do.”
So to recap, Trump wanted to pull out of a trade agreement with South Korea, Gary Cohn took the document that would make it official off his desk, and the president just forgot all about this major decision he wanted to make. In this instance, Trump’s idiocy is a good thing, since we avoided alienating a key ally—but, man, do we ever live in equally stupid and terrifying times.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.