It promises to be devastating, the book that legendary American journalist Bob Woodward will soon publish about the Trump presidency.
In fact, looking at the book excerpts released yesterday, devastating may not be a strong enough word. When reading them, you sometimes have to pinch yourself to be sure that you’re not dreaming. Are we really talking about the president of the world’s leading power?
The Washington Post was the first to publish passages from the book. Some contain amazing revelations, terribly embarrassing for Donald Trump and, let’s face it, just plain terrifying.
One of the fundamental conclusions that emerges is that the American president is a child that needs constant hand-holding to avoid setting fires everywhere he goes.
To prevent him from starting a world war, for example. Nothing less!
Above all, we can’t take our eyes off of him because he’s a narcissistic, egocentric, angry child, who suffers from severe attention deficit disorder.
Among the most incredible scenes reported by Bob Woodward is one where Trump asks, visibly irritated, why his country spends so much money on security in the Korean Peninsula.
“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” answers Defense Secretary James Mattis, who also concludes that the president possesses an understanding of the issues at the level of “a fifth- or sixth-grader” and that he acts like a child of that age, too.
There is also a scene where Gary Cohn – who was the president’s chief economic adviser until last March – decides to “steal” letters off of Trump’s desk to prevent him from signing them. One of them would have led to the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement. The other would have ended a trade deal with South Korea.
The worst part is that Trump never realized these letters had disappeared!
I don’t know if it’s better to rejoice at the fact that the president’s advisers can manipulate him so easily to protect him from himself, or to panic upon seeing that the most powerful man in the world behaves like a headless chicken!
In January, the book “Fire and Fury” by columnist Michael Wolff offered plenty of evidence of the White House’s dysfunction and of the Republican president’s incompetence. The book had the effect of a bomb, but caution was in order: Some of the revelations had to be taken with a grain of salt, we were then told. The author had privileged access to Trump’s entourage, but Wolff’s name was not synonymous with journalistic excellence.
With Woodward, it’s different. Of course, the White House has already denounced his work, and advisers cited in the book have denied some embarrassing information – John Kelly still says that he never treated Trump like an “idiot” – but that’s not sufficient to undermine this reporter’s credibility.
Woodward’s reporting and that of his colleague Carl Bernstein led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. In the time since, the 70-year-old journalist has published numerous books about the presidency. If he has sometimes been criticized over the decades, few have been able to reproach him for his journalistic rigor. Moreover, his book’s excerpts confirm what several journalists have been reporting for months and from different media outlets.
They also give credence to novelist Philip Roth who, just before his death, shared his thoughts with The New York Times about Trump’s America. No one could have imagined, the writer said, that “the 21st-century catastrophe to befall the U.S.A., the most debasing of disasters, would appear not, say, in the terrifying guise of an Orwellian Big Brother but in the ominously ridiculous commedia dell’arte figure of the boastful buffoon.”
“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,” White House Chief of Staff Kelly says, talking about Trump, according to Bob Woodward.