“Who is this guy?”
Sims, a virtually unknown former aide in Trump’s communications shop, has written a tell-all book about his time in the administration that’s scheduled to be published Tuesday, and Trump is trying to figure out exactly who the guy is.
“Who is this guy? Why is he writing this book? He wasn’t even in meetings,” sources told POLITICO Trump was asking around the White House.
Sims role in the White House and the sleight of hand he’s using to describe his time there may to be just another magic trick, using an analogy once described by a former blogger and classmate of his, West Honeycutt. In a now deleted editorial, available in archive mode, on the blog Sweet Home Alabama, Honeycutt described Sims early years in Alabama politics saying, “For the past several years, Alabamians have been wooed, wowed, tricked and duped.” Sentiments that Trump officials now believe Sims are trying to use on the American public and media.
But from Sims’ perspective, Trump should know he is. At least that’s what he’s insinuating to the world in his memoir, ‘Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House’ and on the media tour he’s currently on to promote the book.
Nevertheless, Sims former colleagues have little good to say about him.
“Basically every warring faction has come together,” to push back against Sims, a former senior White House official told POLITICO. “You wouldn’t believe the text chains. The best part is the president is sort of chomping at the bit to tap this guy and tweet something to the effect of, ‘I didn’t know who this guy was. He taped videos.’”
In the book, Sims details how he sat down with Trump to create what Sims dubbed an “enemies list” of possible leakers in the administration.
“Give me their names,” he said, his eyes narrowing. “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.”
Only in retrospect did I see how remarkable this was. 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.
The President proceeded to name White House staffer after White House staffer. Almost no one was deemed beyond reproach—not his chief of staff, not senior aides, almost no one other than those with whom he shared a last name. He wanted me to help him judge their loyalty. How, I wondered, had it come to this?
News broke in May 2018 that Sims left the White House for a “promotion” at the State Department. But Inside Alabama Politics (IAP) later revealed they discovered Sims was not promoted, but rather fired by the White House; he was never offered a new gig.
Now, the Trump administration is claiming Sims was caught recording the president on his government cell phone and then sending it to his personal cell phone. Ultimately the Secret Service caught on and then-Chief of Staff John Kelly fired him.
While Sims doesn’t own that he was fired in his new book — rather he explained to Good Morning America on Monday that when he decided to resign he forwarded videos and photos from his government phone to his personal phone as momentos — he does say that he had hoped to work Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his White House exit, but was thwarted by Trump’s then-chief of staff, John Kelly.
‘When I was leaving the White House, I looked at my government phone. It’s on my government phone. If you want to hide something, you don’t put it on your government phone. Looking through pictures and videos -just things I wanted save when I left. I emailed it to myself when I resigned,” he told Good Morning America.
He proffered his resignation letter as proof things went down according to his word.
“Actually, I thought they might try to set something up like this. And I brought my resignation paper for the White House. Reason for resignation? To pursue another opportunity in the administration,” Sims added.