Former Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book is a bomb designed to blow out one of the final stanchions of a teetering Trump administration. Already taking on serious water after two capodecina were taken down by Team Mueller, the Trump administration is listing, the crew and captain in a state of disarray and exciteability—that is if Woodward’s account is true.
CIA recruit, Vanderbilt baby, and Woodward PR huckster Anderson Cooper at CNN said nobody should take comfort in the Watergate legend’s book. Comfort or not, millions of Americans will run out and buy a copy for the dirty political laundry revealed within.
.@carlbernstein: "This is deadly serious. Nobody should take any kind of comfort from this book or joy at what Bob [Woodward] reports.
[W]e have Trump naked in a whole coherent narrative about his presidency… recklessness… dishonesty… it's a frightening, damning portrait” pic.twitter.com/YwAL30cmTs
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 5, 2018
Not unlike Michael Wolff’s previous book, Woodward’s effort is based on “deep background” interviews and conservations with Trump administration officials. In other words, he won’t reveal the sources of the allegations made in the book.
Trump refused to participate and said anything the Post associate editor would write and publish would be a “bad book.”
Beyond staff including Secretary of Defense Mattis allegedly calling Trump an idiot fifth-grader, the book essentially claims “an administrative coup d’etat” has stripped the self-described Stable Genius of his executive authority.
Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.
While the latter half of this sentence is understandable, one has to ask if the CEO of a company lacked “curiosity and knowledge” about the market and the company’s products, how long would stockholders tolerate his leadership?
In another incident detailed by the Post article, Secretary of Defense Mattis was reportedly exasperated after Trump asked why we need troops in South Korea. “We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Mad Dog told his boss.
Trump was right on that count. There is zero need for thousands of US troops in that country nearly 70 years after an unnecessary war.
South Korea has an advanced military and its own military-industrial complex, so there is no need beyond the flimsy excuse of a North Korean threat. Mad Dog of course subscribes to the the establishment narrative that North Korea is an ominous threat and that’s why we need troops in the region, to protect South Korea and Japan from the madman Kim Jung-un. The real objective is to push military bases up on China’s borders.
In Woodward’s telling, many top advisers were repeatedly unnerved by Trump’s actions and expressed dim views of him. “Secretaries of defense don’t always get to choose the president they work for,” Mattis told friends at one point, prompting laughter as he explained Trump’s tendency to go off on tangents about subjects such as immigration and the news media.
Woodward, The Post, and a chorus of other Trump critics, including members of his own administration, forget—or ignore—something important here.
Trump going off on “tangents about subjects such as immigration and the news media” is to expected. It is in large part the reason he sits in the White House. There are other reasons—his rambling promise to be a noninterventionist president—but these are now irrelevant because by and large both Republicans and Democrats support foreign wars, including the longest one in US history.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
Donald Trump’s “unhinged” and narcissistic personality was well-known before he declared his intention to run. After all, he hosted a voyeuristic reality TV show based on firing people. His questionable business dealings were a matter of public record before he went on the campaign trail. He fits the textbook example of a decadent, eccentric, narcissistic crony capitalist, emphasis on crony. Trump demonstrated he wasn’t above manipulating government to his financial benefit.
If Woodward’s book is true, nobody can work for Trump, they can’t possibly live up to his standards and expectations. He’s a bully, insulting staffers and key appointees, often in public (or in tweet, anyway). He mocked his previous senior national security adviser for his appearance and told his Commerce Secretary he’s past his prime and Trump doesn’t want him doing negotiations.
As for his his Attorney General, it’s already well known what the president thinks of Jeff Sessions. One again, it’s all about Trump. He considers Sessions a traitor for not recusing himself from the organized racketeering effort over on the Democrat side.
Trump has few friends. Only his loyal MAGA nationalist followers can be counted on to provide the unquestioning support he needs—and yet even in the ranks there are growing defections.
Most telling here is Trump’s response—again with the pathology of a bully—to the problem of Bashar al-Assad (who of course wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the work of his predecessor and his secretary of state and would-be-president).
“Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump said about the elected president of Syria, according to Woodward.
Of course, even if Trump wasn’t a geopolitical imbecile, didn’t abuse his underlings and disregard their advice, and swore off tweeting for the remainder of his term, he would still be unacceptable to the establishment. He’s not part of the club. He wasn’t handpicked by the elite. No Harvard. No CFR tutoring and Rhodes scholarship.
Trump’s not much different than the Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes character in the film A Face in the Crowd.
If he so openly and repeatedly berates his Cabinet, what does he have to say about you and me? Are we losers and idiots, too?
So we’re in the midst of a good old fashion bloodless coup. If Woodward can be believed, Trump is president in name and tweet only.
If you think about it, the inevitability of the destruction of Donald Trump became obvious the moment he won the election. His rule will not be tolerated, not merely by irrational anti-Trumpers but by the financial aristocracy.
For them, this is a fluke.