When Reince Priebus was the chief of staff of the White House, President Donald Trump asked him repeatedly whether Dachs, the state animal of Priebus' home state of Wisconsin, was "common to people", how they "work" and how aggressive they can be.
This is after "Sinking in the swamp: How Trump's minions and outsiders poisoned Washington", a new book by Daily Beast Reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng.
From taking office until the end of July 2017, Priebus was Trump's chief of staff for about six months.
During this time, Trump frequently "wasted" Priebus' time on foreign and domestic policy meetings by throwing questions about badgers, the book said.
The book says about the President's fascination with badger:
"After Trump was reminded that the short-legged omnivore is practically synonymous with the badger state, he would try to introduce it to his troubled chief of staff on seemingly random occasions.
"& # 39; Do they mean to people?" Trump asked Priebus at least twice in the first months of his presidency: "Or are they friendly beings?" The President would also ask if Priebus had any photos of badgers that he could show him and if Priebus could explain carefully how badgers "work".
"He wanted Reince – apparently a badger historian in the White House – to explain to him Wisconsin's obsession with animals, how little creatures function and behave, what kind of food they like, and how aggressive or deadly they could be if they were noticed existential threats.
"Trump also wanted to know whether the badger has a" personality "or whether it is boring. What kind of damage could a badger do if it hits a person with its striking, sharp claws?
"An apparently enthusiastic president would stare at Priebus as the adjutant struggled to get enough responses while trying to gently trace the conversation back to whether we were swarming troops in Afghanistan or taking out health insurance for millions of Americans."
The president also has a habit of approaching his advisers on other topics that interest him, the book says.
Once, the book says, he asked his space advisors about garbage and asked questions like:
- "Where are we going?"
- "Where does it crash to earth?"
- "What exactly is up there and orbiting the globe?"
- "Who or what creates all this space debris?"
- "Is this a national security threat?"
Priebus was excluded from work at the end of July 2017 and replaced by General John Kelly, the secretary for internal security. Eventually, Kelly was also released and replaced by Mick Mulvaney, head of the management and budget office, who is acting and is generally expected to leave his post soon.