It may have been a mistake for me to buy this book. We have seen it all before and it is too painful to recall. That is, I suppose, the whole problem. In more than 300 pages that are meticulously reported, there are probably 300 acts of this President for which the CEO of a public company would be fired. But so what? We have seen it all before. But at least we are reminded – especially the Trump supporters in this country – that it is impossible to imagine a person worse placed to hold any form of public office – let alone that of President of the United States.
So, I could only bring myself quickly to scan it. That’s a great shame, because this is a well kept a diary of a sad national failure.
The CIA never figured out conclusively who wrote and crafted Kim’s letters to Trump. They were masterpieces. The analysts marvelled at the skill someone brought to finding the exact mixture of flattery while appealing to Trump’s sense of grandiosity and being centre stage in history.
I expect that Kim, like Trump, has an ego that leaves no room for God, but Kim, like a few other cold killers, could go down on his knees each day and give thanks that Providence has given him this rude, loud, weak spoiled child – whom he can walk over at will.
A devout Catholic, Redfield had gone through a religious awakening during a private 10-minute conversation with Pope John Paul II in 1989 and believed in the redemptive power of suffering. Redfield prayed every day, including a prayer for President Trump.
We thought the Evangelicals were the problem. The whole mess has been very bad for religion. For that matter, so has most of the history of the U S.
‘Don’t mock Kim’, Trump repeated. ‘I don’t want a fucking nuclear war,’ he said again. He returned to the new nuclear weapons he had. ‘I have such powerful weapons. They’re so powerful you wouldn’t believe it. You wouldn’t even put them in your book.’
Those who think Trump is not a fool might answer this question. Could anyone but a fool have said that on the record to the most respected reporter on earth? And it is so utterly characteristic.
You do not have to be an expert in managing people to know that about the worst mistake a CEO can make is to have someone outside the hierarchy available to counsel the CEO on how to deal with those reporting to him – behind their backs – especially if that person is very close to the CEO – like being the husband of his daughter. The trouble with Jared Kushner is that he is inadequate enough not to see how inadequate he is, or how much damage he is doing to the structure of management. Messrs Mattis and Fauci are faultless leaders in their spheres. One look at them tells you that these people understand and embrace public service – in a way that the Trump family could never understand. How could decent people like them survive dealing with someone like Trump and his family?
The book confirms my worst fears about Kushner. Kushner told Woodward – again on the record – that if he wanted to understand Trump, he should read four texts. One of them was Alice in Wonderland.
When combined, Kushner’s four texts painted President Trump as crazy, aimless, stubborn and manipulative. I could hardly believe anyone would recommend these as ways to understand their father-in-law, much less the president they believed in and served.
The worst is yet to come. You thought Trump had got rid of his best advisers.
‘And by the way,’ Kushner added, ‘that’s why the most dangerous people around the president are overconfident idiots.’ It was apparently a reference to Mattis, Tillerson and former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn. All had left. ‘If you look at the evolution over time, we’ve gotten rid of a lot of the overconfident idiots. And now he’s got a lot more thoughtful people who kind of know their place and know what to do.’
Trump is a spoiled child who never learned anything better. Those Republican grandees who have enabled him do not have that excuse. Their time will come in the blackest pages of history.
Perhaps we should all read this book to recall why.