In 1972, alongside fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, rookie investigative journalist Bob Woodward published an article that ultimately took down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Nearly 50 years later, the iconic reporter is back with a new book aimed at revealing the real story of the Trump White House.
Operating under the ominous title Fear: Trump in the White House, the Bob Woodward book was released on September 11. In its first week, the political tell-all chalked up 1.1 million in sales and shattered pre-order records at publishing company Simon & Schuster. Even as the White House juggernaut moves to discredit the book because of Woodward’s anonymous sources, the veteran reporter is falling back on dozens of interviews and hundreds of hours of research to confirm his claims.
The book is so poisonous that Trump used all 280 of his characters to denounce it on more than one occasion. In the space of five fun years, Trump’s opinion of Woodward has gone from “must-read” …
… to “complete joke.”
It’s amazing how drastically your opinion of someone can change as their target shifts. While the rest of the world debates the merit of the Bob Woodward Trump book, we just showed up for the disses. After all, most sentient humans already know that Trump is a schmuck, we just like hearing it lyrically phrased, and who better to accomplish that feat than a man who’s been eviscerating politicians for half a century?
So, without further pontification, let’s get to the good stuff!
James Mattis Said Donald Trump Had the Mental Capacity of a ‘Fifth or Sixth Grader’
In September of 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un spouted off at the mouth (as he is prone to do). Where prior presidents listened to similar threats and responded by chuckling haughtily and patting Kim on his fiery, little flattop, Donald Trump isn’t one to take idle threats lying down.
So, the President of the United States proceeded to prod the notoriously crazy person with a series of one-sided dick-measuring contests published in 280 characters or less.
Here’s the most famous:
And here’s the one that prompted the entry in the Bob Woodward book:
And, okay, sure, the “I have a working button” comment was pretty funny, but it’s still not the smartest thing to say, which is why soon-to-be-former Secretary of Defense James Mattis told his co-workers that Trump, “acted like — and had the understanding of — a ‘fifth or sixth grader,’” which is easily the age at which human beings are the most awful.
The Donald Doesn’t Know Which Papers Are On His Desk
Just to go ahead and follow up on that whole “fifth grader” train of thought, the Bob Woodward book also mentions several incidents in which high-ranking staffers removed documents from Trump’s desk and hid or destroyed them to keep Trump from acting on potentially dangerous ideas.
Says former staff secretary Rob Porter, “A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren’t such good ideas.” It’s like the professional equivalent of dangling car keys in front of a baby.
Bright and shiny keeps Trump-y happy!
Trump Called Jeff Sessions, ‘Mentally Retarded’
Not all the shade being thrown in the Bob Woodward book is being heaped upon Trump. The President doesn’t shy away from attacks on his people. In one instance, for example, Trump reportedly called Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “mentally retarded” and added that Sessions is a “dumb Southerner.”
Trump happily refuted the claim on Twitter:
In response, the good people at Business Insider (doing God’s work) drummed up not one, not two, but three separate occurrences where Trump-y went on record as calling someone retarded. One of those times he was making fun of Marlee Matlin, the only deaf actor (male or female) to take home an Academy Award for Acting.
John Dowd Thinks The President Is a ‘F!$king Liar’
One-time Trump lawyer (and one-time Trump acolyte) John Dowd abruptly ended his relationship after conducting a mock interview with the President went horribly awry. In an attempt to convince Trump that he should not take the stand — specifically, “You can’t testify. Testify means an orange jumpsuit.” — Dowd set up a mock interview that replicated some of the pressure Trump would face while on Mueller’s stand. After several minutes in which Trump appeared to backtrack, stumble, and out-and-out lie, Dowd only succeeded in sending D-Bone into “a 30-minute rant.” The temper tantrum caused Dowd to quit his job and abandon his loyalty to Trump.
The entire situation left Dowd with the stated desire to tell the President, “You’re a fucking liar.”
Steve Mnuchin Sucks at His Job
We already know that Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin is an oblivious rich guy who’s reportedly cost taxpayers a million dollars on his travel budget alone. However, according to the Bob Woodward Trump book, we’re not the only ones who realize the guy is worthless.
While still president-elect, Trump reportedly told former economic advisor Gary Cohn, “I hired the wrong guy for Treasury secretary. You should be Treasury secretary. You would be the best Treasury secretary.”
The fun part is: the dummy Trump hired to be Treasury Secretary was sitting in the same room. If the story is true, it offers critical insight into the people Trump values over the long term (and the plainly shocking lack of self-respect Steve Mnuchin has for himself). After all, Cohn’s gone the way of the dinosaur and Mnuchin is still singing the praises of a man who once publicly shamed him.
Looking For a One-Word Summary From ‘Fear’? The Word Is ‘Crazytown’
If you’re looking for the central theme of Fear: Trump in the White House, look no further than White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly who reportedly said of the President:
“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.”
Naturally, that’s not the story coming from Kelly (or Mattis) in the wake of the book’s release.
The Bob Woodward Trump book pulls no punches in its attack on the White House. Even as the principal players in the story scramble to deny having disparaged their boss, the fact remains that Woodward’s portrayal of a White House (and an administration) existing in a state of chaos and decay jives with the reports that Trump’s White House is understaffed and his employees are miserable.
But don’t tell that to Donald and the boys.
Just days after the release of Woodward’s book, the right-wing media and Trump’s highest-ranking underlings circled the wagons and began the arduous task of dismantling the legacy of Bob “Watergate was my first job” Woodward. Whether or not they’ll succeed remains to be seen, but the toll exacted on the Bob Woodward book is that it will likely have little-to-no impact on the future going’s on in Washington.
It’s too bad, but It also looks like Trump has enough political crosshairs on his comb-over that Bob Woodward won’t need to help bring this one down.