Aptly named ‘Fear’
“Fear: Trump in the White House,” the new tell-all book by famed journalist Bob Woodward, confirms what most of us feel but wish were not true — our government is headed by a man utterly unfit for the office.
“Fear” is not an opinion piece, written by Trump detractors. It’s the product of painstaking research, including interviews with White House insiders, backed up by tape recordings.
We’ll say it again — backed up by tape recordings.
That’s important, because Trump supporters will shout “Fake news!” just as the president already has.
But evidence is evidence, and the evidence shows that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told associates that Trump acted like — and had the understanding of — “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
The reported words of Chief of Staff John Kelly should chill us all to the bone. Kelly said, according to Woodward’s reporting, “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown.”
Economic adviser Gary Cohn reportedly said that Trump is a “professional liar.”
We know Trump lied in a telephone conversation with Woodward, when he denied knowing Woodward wanted to interview him before admitting that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had relayed a request from Woodward to do so.
We know because we heard the tape, made with Trump’s permission.
In the same recorded conversation, Trump threw loyal adviser Kellyanne Conway under the metaphorical bus, denying that she had relayed Woodward’s request and putting her on the phone to face the reporter.
The book also tells how Trump insults senior aides. He reportedly made fun of retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, for dressing in cheap suits “like a beer salesman.”
One bit of bad behavior that might actually come back to bite Trump is his reported opinion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump reportedly mocked Sessions’ Southern accent and said, “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner. … He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”
Trump enjoys a lot of support from people who sound like Jeff Sessions. Will it last?
Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, told CNN, “I resent that.”
Graham, a Trump apologist, said such remarks, if real, would be “inappropriate.”
In an astounding revelation from the book, it was reported that Cohn stopped Trump from signing a document that would have ended a trade agreement with South Korea and another that would have withdrawn the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
How did Cohn do it? By stealing the documents from Trump’s desk.
Distracted by the next shiny object, Trump reportedly forgot about the documents and moved on.
The image of harried senior operatives trying to protect the nation from the whims of someone not in control of his impulses, someone who makes up stories as he goes along, is frightening, indeed. We can’t imagine such behavior being tolerated by a Congress or Cabinet at any other point in history.
Perhaps Republicans, who hold all Washington’s power, are content to leave the executive branch under such incompetent rule as long as they get their priorities — things like massive tax cuts for the rich and Supreme Court nominees like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Perhaps they fear the wrath of Trump supporters should they stand up to the President.
The bottom line is, Woodward’s book gives thorough documentation to what we can all see every day in Trump’s tweets, and the picture is frightening.
The book is aptly named — “Fear.”
The Daily Star