One of the country’s top generals dismissed President Donald Trump as “an idiot” businessman with no “basic understanding of national security” at a 2017 dinner, according to another official’s notes from that night that were published by The Washington Post on Wednesday.
In the Post story about sexual assault allegations against Gen. John E. Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Col. Kathy Spletstoser shared notes she took from the October 2017 dinner where she annotated the general’s comments.
(Hyten previously denied her assault accusations “in the strongest possible terms” and said an investigation cleared him.)
The Post story about Spletstoser details some strikingly candid thoughts Hyten once shared about the first couple.
Pentagon Nominee Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Gen. John Hyten testified in front of the Senate.
“The president is an idiot,” he told Spletstoser and others who attended a prior briefing on the dinner, the Post reported.
Spletstoser told the paper she turned over her transcripts to investigators looking into her allegations but claimed the notes were hidden to protect Hyten’s career.
“He is just a businessman without the basic understanding of national security,” the general reportedly said about Trump. “Everything is a business transaction for him and making money is winning to him and the only thing that matters.”
Hyten did not comment to the Post on the notes about what he said.
A White House official told the paper: “We are unfamiliar with any conversation like this. Discussions like this would not be had casually around a dinner table.”
According to the Post, Hyten, now 60, added that he believed First Lady Melania Trump had a better grasp on military operations than the president.
The general said, according to Spletstoser’s notes, that “the president wanted to sell nuclear-powered submarines to the South Koreans, and I had to talk him out of it, explaining why this was a bad idea.”
“Everything is about a business deal — that is how the president views things, through that lens,” Hyten added, per the Post.
“I also spent a lot of time talking to Melania Trump about the locations of all our intercontinental ballistic missile fields,” he continued. “She was more inquisitive and smarter than the president.”
Most recently former National Security Advisor John Bolton accused Trump, 74, of buddying up to autocratic world leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The White House and Hyten did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on Thursday.