According to Woodward, Mattis told staff to ignore a tirade by Trump against Syria's president Bashar al-Assad in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in April 2017 and the United States president's alleged statement: "Let's fucking kill him!"
President Donald Trump reportedly "isn't talking to anyone" after a new bombshell book painted a White House in chaos.
For staunch Trump supporters outside those liberal bastions, the book is simply another confirmation that journalists working in what is derisively called "the mainstream media" are out to get the president. But "pound for pound, year after year, nobody has taught us more or brought more information to bear on what is happening at the highest levels of government", says David Greenberg, a professor of history and journalism at Rutgers University and author of "Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency".
It was then that they decided on a more conventional airstrike that trump had ultimately ordered.
It was Woodward and fellow journalist Carl Bernstein who exposed the corruption and criminal activity of the Nixon White House with their exhaustive expose of the Watergate affair.
The Washington Post published an annotated transcript of the 11-minute call between the two on Tuesday, just hours after the paper released excerpts from Woodward's upcoming book Fear: Trump in the White House.
Mattis said in a statement, "The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence".
Woodward says he has "gained a lot of insight and documentation" and that his book will be a "tough look at the world and your administration and you". "It's either that or an orange jumpsuit".
While White House aides have become increasingly numb to fresh scandals, the latest book still increased tensions in the West Wing, especially given the intimate details shared and the number of people Woodward appeared to have interviewed.
"I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his ass six different times", Kelly told Cohn, according to Woodward.
He also tweeted out several statements from senior White House officials refuting the book's claims.
Trump's core supporters won't believe Woodward's book, or may not care if the stories actually are true.
Those who were interviewed for this book were mostly not current staffers, Sanders asserted, and she accused "elites and left-leaning individuals" of trying to push a certain narrative. "I'm busy", Trump said. Lindsey Graham of SC had told him, but he had received no official notice of the request from communications staffers.
Here's the CBS report on Trump's refutation of Woodward's book:What else?
And this: "The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and a 'dumb southerner.' I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. But never once - never - did I think Woodward made it up".
Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Obama all cooperated with Woodward to some degree in books about their presidency.