President Donald Trump is known for creating nicknames to belittle those around him, but the commander-in-chief’s notorious temper has now reportedly earned him a nickname — from his own White House counsel.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II has “cooperated extensively” with special counsel Robert Mueller, including spending over 30 hours in voluntary interviews with investigators over the last nine months.
The report also included a fascinating anecdote on the relationship between the president and his attorney.
“Mr. McGahn has overseen two of Mr. Trump’s signature accomplishments — stocking the federal courts and cutting government regulations — and become a champion of conservatives in the process,” The Times reports. “But the two rarely speak one on one — the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and other advisers are usually present for their meetings — and Mr. Trump has questioned Mr. McGahn’s loyalty.”
“In turn, Mr. Trump’s behavior has so exasperated Mr. McGahn that he has called the president ‘King Kong’ behind his back, to connote his volcanic anger,” The Times reported, based on interviews with people close to McGahn.
McGahn’s nickname for Trump may only have been revealed because of the strained relationship between the two.
“Mr. McGahn and his lawyer grew suspicious. They began telling associates that they had concluded that the president had decided to let Mr. McGahn take the fall for decisions that could be construed as obstruction of justice, like the Comey firing, by telling the special counsel that he was only following shoddy legal advice from Mr. McGahn,” The Times explained. “Worried that Mr. Trump would ultimately blame him in the inquiry, Mr. McGahn told people he was determined to avoid the fate of the White House counsel for President Richard M. Nixon, John W. Dean, who was imprisoned in the Watergate scandal.”