Amid new book claims in the Mattis spotlight

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis isn't an admirer of showing on tv and he would rather not see his name within the newspaper.

In different words, the previous Marine general likes to try to keep his head down and do his job with the smallest amount fuss a prime member of President Donald Trump's cupboard will muster.

But in the week, the Pentagon chief found himself smack within the middle of a media firestorm in Washington. 

He was the story.

Veteran political newsman Bob Woodward, in his new book concerning Trump, describes a White House encumbered in a very perpetual "nervous breakdown", with workers battling to corral the angry impulses of a paranoid leader.

Woodward claims Mattis questioned Trump's judgment and likened the president's understanding to it of a 10- or 11-year recent kid.

Mattis hurried to deny the claims, however, he still found himself beneath a spotlight he desires to avoid.

His voice Dana White aforesaidMattis initial learned of the Woodward claims weekday, shortly when setting out from Calif. for talks in the Asian nation.

Early on within the 20-hour flight, and when he'd already taken queries from journalists attendant him, Mattis created a statement: "The disrespectful words concerning the President attributed to ME in Woodward's book was ne'er spoken by ME or in my presence."

He studiously avoids discussing politics or his relationship with Trump and has voiced dissatisfaction once the Pentagon fourth estate highlights apparent variations between him and therefore the president.

To name a few: Mattis had defended elements of the Iran deal, that Trump force out of it could.

The Pentagon chief was against the creation of a separate new branch of the US military called Space Force, but Trump ordered it anyway.

And Mattis was on vacation when Trump tweeted that he was banning transgender personnel from serving in the military, only months after they had been allowed in under President Barack Obama.

According to extracts of Woodward's book published by The Washington Post, Mattis had to explain to Trump that the US must keep forces in South Korea "to prevent World War III".

He then reportedly told colleagues that Trump had the understanding of "a fifth- or sixth-grader." 

It is not the first time members of Trump's inner circle are purported to have said disparaging things about their leader. 

On Wednesday, Trump denied having to want to kill Assad. White said that Mattis had been unaware remarks ascribed to him that were appearing in the book.