Former White House communications aide Cliff Sims is releasing a book called “Team of Vipers” next week which chronicles his time in the White House. According to The Washington Post, which received an advance copy, the book highlights several rifts between President Donald Trump and officials, including former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Although books have been released by former White House officials like Omarosa Manigault Newman and George Papadopoulos, The Washington Post claims the book is unlike the others because it is “neither a sycophantic portrayal of the president nor a blistering account written to settle scores.”
The Washington Post reports:
The author presents himself as a true believer in Trump and his agenda, and even writes whimsically of the president, but still is critical of him, especially his morality. Sims also finds fault in himself, a rarity in Trump World, writing that at times he was “selfish,” “nakedly ambitious” and “a coward.”
The book reportedly covers everything from the crowd size controversy from Trump’s inauguration to Kelly’s unhappiness with his role.
According to Sims, Kelly said he was serving his “country first, POTUS second.” Sims claims that Kelly told him, “This is the worst [expletive] job I’ve ever had. People apparently think that I care when they write that I might be fired. If that ever happened, it would be the best day I’ve had since I walked into this place.”
Sims reportedly tells another story about Ryan visiting the Oval Office to discuss healthcare, waiting for several minutes before the president walked out of the room and down the hallway. Sims wrote that Vice President Pence had to convince Trump to return to the office.
“It’s impossible to deny how absolutely out of control the White House staff — again, myself included — was at times,” Sims wrote.
Sims claims that Trump was very suspicious of his aides, eventually leading him to make a list of enemies within his administration on White House stationary.
“We’re going to get rid of all of the snakes, even the bottom-feeders,” Trump said, according to Sims.
Sims also reportedly called counselor Kellyanne Conway “the American Sniper of West Wing marksmen” and said her agenda was “survival over all others, including the president.”
The book’s description on the publisher’s website says Sims took notes in real time and was standing at Trump’s side on election night and in Trump’s inner circle as “a confidante, an errand boy, an advisor, a punching bag, and a friend. Sometimes all in the same conversation.”
“For five hundred days, Sims also witnessed first-hand the infighting and the leaking, the anger, joy, and recriminations,” the description says. “He had a role in some of the President’s biggest successes, and he shared the blame for some of his administration’s worst disasters. He gained key, often surprising insights into the players of the Trump West Wing, from Jared Kushner and John Kelly to Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.”
Sims worked on Trump’s campaign and then went on to to be a special assistant to the president and White House director of message strategy.