President Donald Trump compiled a handwritten enemies list of White House staffers that he kept in his coat pocket, according to a former staffer who helped him look for leakers.
The president was obsessed with finding out which staffers and aides were leaking details about White House chaos to reporters, and he asked a young communications aide to help him determine who was loyal and who was not, reported Axios.
“Give me their names,” the president told then-aide Cliff Sims. “I want these people out of here. I’m going to take care of this. We’re going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders.”
Sims recounted the exchange in his upcoming memoir, "Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House," due out Jan. 29 from Thomas Dunne Books.
The minister's son from Alabama had bonded with Trump during the 2016 campaign, and the president called him to the Oval Office through a back entrance so senior staff wouldn't know he was visiting.
"Only in retrospect did I see how remarkable this was," Sims recalled in the book. "I was sitting there with the President of the United States basically compiling an enemies list — but these enemies were within his own administration. If it had been a horror movie, this would have been the moment when everyone suddenly realizes the call is coming from inside the house."
Trump listed staffers one by one, from his chief of staff on down, and he asked Sims whether they were loyal.
The president used a black Sharpie marker to write lists on two cards bearing the White House seal, and he came up with a list of 10 disloyal staffers and five, all of them former campaign staffers, he believed were loyal.
Most of the so-called disloyal staffers survived at first, Axios reported, but Trump seemed to revel in his inside knowledge of his own staff, and he carried the cards around in his breast pocket.