Reince Priebus, former chief of staff to US President Donald Trump, has said that the chaos inside Trump's White House was even worse than reported.
"Take everything you've heard and multiply it by 50," Priebus said, according to the author a book due to be published in March about White House chief of staffs through history.
Priebus was sacked by Trump in July 2017 and replaced with retired general John Kelly, whose own position is uncertain following his handling of an alleged domestic abuse scandal involving former Trump aide Robert Porter.
In the book, "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency", author Chris Whipple describes Priebus and colleagues' early efforts to control the president's Twitter rants, which had already been the source of much embarrassment and controversy for his campaign.
In an effort to stop, or at least moderate, Trump's prolific and inflammatory tweeting, staffers would reportedly give the president a list of tweets to choose from.
"The team would give the president five or six tweets every day to choose from, and some of them would really push the envelope. The idea would be at least they would be tweets that we could see and understand and control. But that didn't allow the president to be fully in control of his own voice. Everybody tried at different times to cool down the Twitter habit but no one could do it."
Arguing over 'alternative facts'
Trump's time in the White House got off to a comically bad start, somewhat setting the tone for his first year in the job.
Priebus received a call from an infuriated Trump early in the morning after his inauguration, complaining about news reports showing that his inaugural crowd size was smaller than his predecessors, particularly Obama.
According to Priebus, Trump said, "There's more people there. There are people who couldn't get in the gates... There's all kind of things that were going on that made it impossible for these people to get there."
Following the inauguration, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer was roundly mocked for a briefing in which he claimed Trump's crowd size to be the largest ever.
Defending Spicer's claims, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said that Spicer was not lying, and that he was simply using "alternative facts", coining one of the most memorable phrases of Trump's bizarre first year.
Priebus reportedly decided that this was not a fight worth having so early in the Trump's term, asking himself, "Am I going to go to war over this with the president of the United States?"
Investigations and resignations
The book also describes a dramatic incident in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to leave the administration after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Trump campaign contacts with Russia in May 2017.
After being berated by the president for allowing the appointment to happen, Sessions reportedly handed in his resignation, prompting Priebus to beg him to reconsider.
"[White House Counsel] Don McGahn came in my office pretty hot, red, out of breath, and said, 'We've got a problem'" Priebus said. "I responded, 'What?' And he said, 'Well, we just got a special counsel, and Sessions just resigned.' I said, 'What!? What the hell are you talking about?'?"
Priebus said he dashed out to the White House car park to coax Sessions back into the White House.
"I said, 'You cannot resign. It's not possible," Priebus recalled. "We are going to talk about this right now.' So I dragged him back up to my office from the car. [Vice President Mike] Pence and [presidential adviser Steve] Bannon came in, and we started talking to him to the point where he decided that he would not resign right then and he would instead think about it."
Whipple writes that Sessions did later deliver a resignation letter to the Oval Office, but that Priebus persuaded Trump to give it back.
Despite all the chaos that Trump put him through, Priebus told Whipple, "I still love the guy."