The Washington Post gets an advance look at Bob Woodward’s book on Donald Trump and it describes a “nervous breakdown” of the presidency. Trump should be in high Twitter gear soon.
A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.
Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.
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.
This isn’t exactly news, but the anecdotal telling is dramatic, such as when Trump questioned U.S. expenditures on the Korean peninsula.
“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him.
After Trump left the meeting, Woodward recounts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ”
This book will sell. And change
According to Woodward, John Dowd did a practice Mueller interview with Trump. It went disastrously. Dowd told Trump: “Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit.” He resigned as Trump’s lawyer the following day.
Woodward writes that Dowd and Sekulow did a reenactment of Trump’s interview for Mueller to explain why he could never testify. They told Mueller they were afraid the transcript would leak and leaders overseas would conclude Trump was an “idiot.”
And a John Kelly quote:
“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.”
And then there’s John McCain.
At dinner with Mattis and Dunford, Trump falsely suggested that John McCain had been a coward for taking early release from a prisoner-of-war camp in Vietnam because of his father’s military rank and leaving others behind.
Mattis has to correct him.