Which of President Donald Trump's close associates will actually go on record publicly to say what appears to be, according to reporting by journalists, a rather more common thing said privately: that the man is not only unstable, but also dumb?
While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dodged at his chance to deny outright that he called his boss a "fucking moron" following a top-level foreign policy meeting last year, a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff alleges that one of Trump's closest personal friends and allies, fellow billionaire Thomas Barrack Jr., once said of the president, "He's not only crazy, he's stupid."
In a separate section of the book, according to an excerpt published by New York Magazine, billionaire media mogul and FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch also expressed exasperation with Trump's mental capacities and reportedly called him a "fucking idiot" after a phone call with the man who is now president.
Barrack's comment, which Wolff attributes as one made to another friend, comes from reporting the Guardian on Wednesday which had a look at the new book—called "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House"—due out next week.
As the Washington Post reported last year, "Few people are closer to Trump than Barrack, his friend for three decades."
In the wake of the quotation's publication, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported via Twitter that she spoke with Barrack directly and he denied ever making such a comment about Trump.
"Totally false," Barrack told Haberman by phone. "It's clear to anyone who knows me that those aren't my words and inconsistent with anything I've ever said."
In the thread under Haberman's tweets, however, many indicated that Barrack's denial might not mean much given his professed loyalty and friendship with Trump. For example:
I believe him, because Trump and his pals never lie.
— Buffalo Xiamen (@womensmarchatw) January 3, 2018