Book Review: Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

It’s like every month, someone is releasing a book on the Trump White House, and to be honest, I’m getting tired of keeping up with them. However, this 75 year old author is an American investigative journalist who has written over 18 published books and his is his 19th. Bob Woodward has been a reporter and editor since 1971 and is noted for his work on Watergate which led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Bob has written about 8 past Presidents in the White House including Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. So even though I didn’t expect he will say anything no one has, I was hoping for a good read with a rich, detailed and verifiable perspective. Let me tell you now that I wasn’t disappointed.

fear cover

Book Review: Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

In comparison to other Trump White House books, it is the same President so this story has the same people, in the same places, over the same time period; prior to the 2016 Election and afterwards.

What’s New?

Hiding and Delaying Documents
First stealing documents of the President’s desk for the National safety was shocking as it was hilarious. I can’t even steal a memo off my boss’ desk because he will be onto me in a minute. Delaying and stalling the President’s dangerous action sounds cowardly but it may be the most effective way to manage his madness.

Porter was more and more convinced that it could trigger an economic and foreign relations crisis with Canada and Mexico. He went to see Cohn.
“I can stop this,” Cohn said to Porter. “I’ll just take the paper off his desk before I leave.” And he later took it. “If he’s going to sign it, he’s going to need another piece of paper.”
“We’ll slow-walk that one too,” Porter promised.
Cohn knew, of course, that the president could easily order another copy, but if the paper was not sitting in front of him, he’d likely forget it. If it was out of sight, it was out of mind.

Trump Knows Next to Nothing about Economics
This bit was also comical. Listening to Cohn try to explain why the federal government couldn’t just “print money” was shocking. That’s 100 level economics.

Several times Cohn just asked the president, “Why do you have these views?”
“I just do,” Trump replied. “I’ve had these views for 30 years.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re right,” Cohn said. “I had the view for 15 years I could play professional football. It doesn’t mean I was right.”

Trump Does Not Understand International Trade and Politics
Termed the “Big Problem”, President Trump doesn’t seem to understand international diplomacy and the relationship between the military, trade relationships and intelligence partnerships with allies. Let me give you an analogy regarding the missile launch detector in South Korea that Trump wants to bring back to Portland.

Mr A is your sworn enemy and has been working on a way to come to your house and kill every member of your family because you are rich and powerful. You strike a deal with Mr B (Mr A’s next door neighbor) and agree that you will pay him and trade with him in exchange that one of your sons stay with him. Your son will watch Mr A and report immediately Mr A leaves his house to attack yours.

Now tell me, who needs the other more? Obviously, America needs that missile detection facility in South Korea to protect them from North Korea who claims to have tested a nuclear missile that can reach the United States! This President cannot understand this. He is a business man and is focused on cutting cost.

The president proceeded to lecture and insult the entire group about how they didn’t know anything when it came to defense or national security. It seems clear that many of the president’s senior advisers, especially those in the national security realm, are extremely concerned with his erratic nature, his relative ignorance, his inability to learn, as well as what they consider his dangerous views.”

Trump Doesn’t Listen to Anyone
He has advisers and asks their opinion. However, he has his ideas which aren’t backed by any education or research, just his intuition, and he will run with this belief even when it is blatantly flawed. Donald Trump’s idea of what America should be is 70-80 years late.

“Each month Cohn brought Trump the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, called JOLTS, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He realized he was being an asshole by rubbing it in because each month was basically the same, but he didn’t care.
“Mr. President, can I show this to you?” Cohn fanned out the pages of data in front of the president. “See, the biggest leavers of jobs—people leaving voluntarily—was from manufacturing.”
I don’t get it,” Trump said.
Cohn tried to explain: “I can sit in a nice office with air conditioning and a desk, or stand on my feet eight hours a day. Which one would you do for the same pay?”
Cohn added, “People don’t want to stand in front of a 2,000 degree blast furnace. People don’t want to go into coal mines and get black lung. For the same dollars or equal dollars, they’re going to choose something else.”
Trump wasn’t buying it.

Trump And Melania
Contrary to media and other Trump White books, Bob suggests that Trump and Melania “have some sincere affection for each other” enjoying dinner together but living independently. However, Bob agrees with Omarosa that Melania is a dotting mom focused on raising their son, Barron.

Trump is a Male Chauvinist
Following the Grab them by the P***y recording, we already knew this. However, Trump appears to be a systematic and dangerous liar who believes that “Real power is fear. It’s all about strength. Never show weakness. You’ve always got to be strong. Don’t be bullied. There is no choice.”

This also explains the President’s continuous backing of Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee despite the increasing allegations of sexual assault against him.

“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” he said. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead…You showed weakness. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”

Efforts Have Been Made to Curtail His Tweeting
You know how we have been praying for someone to take this man’s phone? Well, many in the White House have tried. Seeing how the president’s  incessant tweeting could start a nuclear war, the White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino suggested that they set up a committee to draft tweets for Trump, vetting them for purposefulness, accuracy and spelling mistakes but that didn’t work out. Trump initially endorsed the idea but began to feel stifled saying that Twitter was his megaphone and what got him elected.

President Trump is a Forgetful Old man
Anyone with parents over 60 will know that forgetfulness is a thing. In Donald Trump’s case, if he forgets, it never happened. The President had negotiated the steel tariffs with Australia excluding them from any increase. When reminded by Cohn he admitted he did not remember the conversation and went on to say “I’m going to deny it…I never had that conversation with him.” In Cohn’s words, the president is a “professional liar.” ready to deny anything at anytime.

A Detailed Account of Trump’s Response to the Charlottesville Incident
In August 2017, white supremacists clashed with protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. After tweeting for unity and peace, He was given a script condemning “violence”. This President went and added his own racist twist, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence… on many sides.despite being clear that the neo-Nazis were the aggressors.

Trump comes under fire from everyone and is forced to give another speech clarifying his stand on the issue to unite the country a mist the growing racial divide. After significant persuasion, Trump agrees. He sticks to the carefully edited script and makes one of the best speeches of his administration. “Racism is evil…We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans”. Everyone commends Trump but he is unhappy at the suggestion that this second speech was an admittance of having made a mistake in the first one. He doesn’t believe he made a mistake and is angry that he looked weak. “You never make those concessions. You never apologize.”

Then, he goes on to correct his corrected speech, reverting to earlier perspective saying “There is blame on both sides . . . you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had a lot of bad people in the other group too . . . there are two sides to a story.”

White House Staffers Are Frustrated With Trump
Following the Charlottesville incident, Cohn put in his resignation and at this point, I really couldn’t blame him. Taking into account the New York Times Op-Ed: I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration by an anonymous administration official, which was published the same week of this books release, it is clear that Trump is a really difficult man to work for and to back this up, his administration boast the highest number of top-level dismissals and resignations in US history.

Related: Book Review: Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Newman

Summarily, this is the best White House book I have read so far. Bob Woodward is obviously an experienced political writer, making an easily mundane topic entertaining if not intriguing. I have to wonder if we have got any Nigerian journalists covering Aso Rock. It would be nice to know what goes on in our President’s office and if anyone is stealing documents off his desk.

This book corroborates Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House and Omarosa’s Unhinged and so I am inclined to believe that the President of the United States of America is erratic, unpredictable, and can’t read or pronounce words with three to four syllables. I am also inclined to believe that Donald Trump is a pathological liar, one of those people that believe that the truth is what they say it is not what really happened. He is desperately trying to turn back time, regress the nation to make it great again.

Contrary to my other recommendations, buy this book! It is one you want to read yourself even if politics is not your thing. It is so well written, I feel like it is a classic our kids will read in time.


Have you read Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!

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