President Donald Trump, portrayed in a new book as a leader who doesn't understand the weight of his office, spoke out on Saturday to defend his mental fitness and defend his actions regarding the Russia probe, saying he is "like, really smart" and has been "100 percent proper."
He posted a series of tweets from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, a few hours before holding meetings on the 2018 legislative agenda with Republican congressional leaders and Cabinet members.
It was his latest pushback against author Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." The book draws a derogatory portrait of the 45th president as an undisciplined man-child who didn't actually want to win the White House, and who spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the telephone to old friends.
U.S. & World
The book also quotes Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and other prominent advisers as questioning the president's competence.
Trump is having none of it.
He tweeted that critics are "taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence." The president said "actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart."
Trump said going from successful businessman to reality TV star to president on his first try "would qualify as not smart, but genius .... and a very stable genius at that!"
Trump spoke to reporters at Camp David, NBC News reported, and said he felt compelled to write his tweets, saying, "I had a situation where I was a very excellent student; came out 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've probably had heard, ran for president one time and won."
During the press conference, Trump also addressed recent reports that he had asked for Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, saying that "Everything I've done is 100 percent proper. That is what I do, is I do things proper."
And he again denied having colluded with Russia or having committed any crimes.
Trump added in response to a reporter's question that he doesn't know Wolff but he felt "heartened" because some in the media questioned the veracity of his insider-account of the early days in the Trump administration.
"I consider it a work of fiction and I think it's a disgrace that somebody is able to have something, do something like that," Trump said. "The libel laws are very weak in this country."
Chatter about Trump's mental fitness for office has intensified in recent months on cable news shows and among Democrats in Congress.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week called such suggestions "disgraceful and laughable."
"If he was unfit, he probably wouldn't be sitting there and wouldn't have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen," she said, calling him "an incredibly strong and good leader."
In early December, the House voted overwhelmingly to kill a resolution from a liberal Democrat to impeach Trump. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, said Trump had associated his presidency with causes rooted in bigotry and racism.
To back his claim accusing Trump of high misdemeanors, Green cited incidents such as Trump's blaming both sides for violence at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his sharing of hateful, anti-Muslim videos posted online by a fringe British extremist group.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement shortly before the vote that while "legitimate questions have been raised about his fitness to lead this nation," they argued "now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment."