Trump scared of ‘what Mattis is saying behind his back’ after Woodward book but denies change at Pentagon
Donald Trump speaks to Jim Mattis (Pentagon)

The upcoming book by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Bob Woodward has unnerved President Donald Trump to the point where White House officials are discussing replacing Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin reported Wednesday.

“The speculation about who replaces Mattis is now more real than ever,” according to a senior White House official granted anonymity to discuss internal matters.

"The president has always respected him. But now he has every reason to wonder what Mattis is saying behind his back," the official continued.

"The relationship has nowhere to go but down, fast," the offical predicted.

The short-list to replace Mattis reportedly included retired four-star General Jack Keane, who the White House senior official described as "like a more partisan Mattis."

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), former Treasury Department official David McCormick and former Republican Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri are also the short list.

Shortly after the report was published, President Donald Trump spoke with reporters for the second time on Wednesday to dispute the report saying Mattis will "stay right here" in the administration.