Former White House aide Cliff Sims’ new tell-all is brimming with insider details on vitriol and backbiting within the Trump administration, but among its most scandalous is an alleged “enemies list” drawn up by the president himself.
In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, Sims said that while his book Team of Vipers describes Washington as “the most cutthroat, toxic, mean-spirited, draining work environment” he’d ever encountered, he himself was a player in the bloodsport.
“I suddenly found myself a participant in this ‘Game of Thrones,’ basically, where it’s like I need to push this person out so that I can get a better position or they’re coming after me so I’m going to come after them,” he recalled.
For Sims, that meant lending President Donald Trump a hand in creating the alleged enemies list, which is said to have been used in a frustrated effort to stem the flow of leaks from the administration.
“I start listing people, and I justified it in the moment by saying this is good for the president because these people shouldn’t be here,” Sims said. “And in retrospect, it was good for me. I didn’t want them there because they were my ‘enemies’ inside the building.”
The aide added that, although he now regrets his behavior, at the time he “justified any number of things like that to get ahead.”
Just as Sims’ interview began, Trump rage-tweeted against his former staffer, calling his book “boring” and “based on made up stories and fiction.”
While Sims believes he signed the same agreements as other Trump political hires, potentially including a non-disclosure deal, he told Cooper he isn’t concerned about being sued over the book.