Is Trump a cat with the capability to vanish in thin air? His son-in-law thinks so.
But the fact that Woodward speaks proficient old-school GOP is what makes his second-half conversion even more powerful. And its why you may think about, if not checking out Rage yourself, then at least mailing it to your political history-loving Republican uncle before the election..
The modification comes when Woodward speaks to Jared Kushner halfway through, looking for secrets to Trumps character. Kushner takes him to Alice in Wonderland area, actually:.
He paraphrased the [Cheshire] feline: “If you dont understand where youre going, any course will get you there.” The Cheshire Cats method was one of endurance and persistence, not direction.. Kushner was explicitly stating Alice in Wonderland was a guiding text for the Trump presidency. Did Kushner understand how unfavorable this was? Was it possible the finest roadmap for the administration was an unique about a young lady who falls through a rabbit hole, and Kushner was willing to acknowledge that Trumps presidency was on unstable, directionless ground?
In short, yes. This seems to be Woodwards very first idea that his president has no ethical center whatsoever, and will state any old shit that appears in his brain, typically on a repetitive loop. In the words of the New York Times Maggie Haberman, another essentially considerate reporter, Trump will “say whatever he needs to say to make it through 10 minute increments of time.” Woodward is a late transform to this idea, because he is patriotically trained to anticipate more of presidents. He can not believe theres no there there, however … he finally arrived.
Something remarkable takes place with his Trump conversations from this point forward: Woodward really begins fact-checking the presidents declarations. Its fact-checking of the most milquetoast sort, the kind that constantly gives Trump the benefit of the doubt. There is plenty he does not press back on, and amazingly Woodward still appears to be more gung-ho on the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was developed in a Chinese lab than Trump is..
However that does not stop Woodward boarding a quick train to Never Trump Town, where he will get to completion of the book. And not surprising that. Trump has a limited number of verbal techniques to deploy, they all depend upon distraction, and they look progressively desperate the longer you keep him talking. Ultimately he will try to end the argument by blurting out something pathetically, revealingly conceited, like this: “But the concepts are mine, Bob. The ideas are mine. Need to know something? Everythings mine. You know, whatever is mine.”.
The more Trump exposes himself, and the more Woodward presses back, the more the author ends up being something he never ever meant but need to have been all along– a noticeable figure in his own journalistic procedure. Finally, he has stepped out of the shadows where he tape-records and burnishes the tradition of his beloved sources. He is self-examining..
In the books most surprising moment, Woodward shares some of his own development with Trump: “My father was a legal representative and a judge in Illinois. And we understand what your daddy did. Do you have any sense that a benefit has separated and put you in a cavern, as it put me … which we need to work our method out of it to comprehend the pain and the anger Black people have in this nation?”.
Trump scoffs and lashes out, accusing Woodward of “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Woodward persists, and finally drags Trump to a discussion about systemic bigotry where the president finally, briefly, unwillingly, admits its a thing– and has been a thing “for hundreds of years plus.” Kind of like, say, the 1619 job has been stating all along.
Its too little too late, as far as Woodward is concerned. Trump has committed the basic criminal offense of being an unserious president, and the coronavirus damns him. Mattis comes out against Trump in June 2020, explaining him as a “risk to the Constitution” after Trumps cynical church photo-op with active task armed force on the streets of Washington D.C.; Woodwards epiphany, coincidentally or otherwise, seems to have occurred the same time. Finally, he abandons obtuse neutrality..
On the extremely last page of his epilogue, Woodward reaches his Never Trump location. The facility Republican who wished for the best from Trump instead recognizes he is a grifter who has “enshrined personal impulse as a governing principle of his presidency … Trump is the wrong male for the task.”.
For those of us who reached that conclusion in 2016, Woodwards plodding pace can be exasperating. There are numerous white seventysomething Republicans in America in his scenario right now, with the scales falling from their eyes in the wake of a virus that Trump plainly isnt securing them from, and reading Rage may help speed along their own epiphanies..
This need to be encouraged, not discounted. For the sake of the nation, and for us never ever needing to check out another Woodward book on Trump, let us hope they vote appropriately..
(In the case of Rage, its Trump spilling his brains on COVID-19; the president kept calling Woodward since he was mad at being left out of Woodwards previous book, Fear.).
Something remarkable occurs with his Trump conversations from this point forward: Woodward in fact begins fact-checking the presidents statements. That doesnt stop Woodward boarding a quick train to Never Trump Town, where he will show up at the end of the book. In the books most surprising moment, Woodward shares some of his own development with Trump: “My daddy was a legal representative and a judge in Illinois. Mattis comes out against Trump in June 2020, explaining him as a “danger to the Constitution” after Trumps cynical church photo-op with active duty armed force on the streets of Washington D.C.; Woodwards surprise, coincidentally or otherwise, appears to have actually come around the exact same time.
Whisper it low: Could Rage, out in book shops today, be the very first Bob Woodward book in an age thats in fact worth reading?.
My response: Yes, but only 50 percent of the important things. Only after Woodward, at age 77, has an Alice in Wonderland surprise midway through, which changes the method he interviews Trump. At long last, with uncommon honesty, Woodward becomes a visible character in his own decades-long story– and really checks his own privilege..
Theyre odd things, Woodward books. They invariably break news, due to the fact that Mr. I-Broke-Watergate convinces every source in Washington to speak with him eventually, and they generally have something jaw-dropping to say when the tape-recorders on. (In the case of Rage, its Trump spilling his brains on COVID-19; the president kept calling Woodward because he was mad at being overlooked of Woodwards previous book, Fear.).
So we buy them, expecting some solid Pulitzer-worthy narrative. We happily display them on the shelf for a month or a week or 3, since who has the time? Then we break them open one evening, long after the news storm has passed, and we realize: Holy cow, this person can not write..
Woodward admitted in a 1989 interview that good analysis avoids him. But its a language issue too. If youve ever needed to re-read his pages to comprehend them, youre not alone. Each paragraph includes a lead balloon of a sentence; each chapter meanders through pointless details. (Rage is the only book that will ever reveal the number of Diet Cokes Trump drank as his helicopter circled around a foggy landing zone in the Korean demilitarized zone: 2.).
We likewise find this troublesome fact: Bob Woodward is an old-school establishment Republican. His political lean need to come as not a surprise; its right there in the motion picture about Woodward and Bernstein bringing down Nixon, All The Presidents Men. (Robert Redford as Woodward says hes GOP and chose Nixon in 68; Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein stares, incredulous). And it comes out in every book he writes; no matter how much Woodward claims to be an old-school just-the-facts-man objective reporter, his options of source and subject speak volumes..
Fear, which I described in 3 words– bad, boring, bogus– remained in many parts a love letter to Woodwards favorite Trumpian sources. Lindsey Graham, Kellyanne Conway, and even Steve Bannon came out of it radiant whiter than white. Graham gets the occasional mash note in Rage too, however the bulk of Woodwards ballpoint hearts are now engraved next to former deputy chief law officer Rod Rosenstein, previous Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Trumps former Defense secretary, retired General Jim Mattis..
I are sorry for to report that Woodward, who appreciated both Mattis and Lt. General H.R. McMasters “ramrod-straight” posture in Fear, is at it again: “Mattis had a stoic Marine outside and attention-getting ramrod posture, however his intense, open and welcoming smile softened his presence.” People, get a room..
To check out the very first half of Rage is to think that very little worthy of attention took place in this administration prior to the coronavirus beyond its unpredictable diplomacy with North Korea. Woodward consistently blanches at the thought that Mattis may have had to shoot down a North Korean nuke, possibly. It is to accept Russian election interference while eliding the extremely clear fact that the interference was to help Trump. It is to dismiss the Mueller report and all its open concerns even as you report that Rosenstein intentionally set out to limit the investigation..
It is, in other words, to provide Trump every possible opportunity. Woodward is not even a Never Trumper Republican; by personality, he seems to be a Maybe Trumper. At one point, for no narrative factor, he explains Dan Coats Indiana Republican wife wrestling with whether to choose prospect Trump in 2016. While the Access Hollywood tape was “raunchy,” and “she understood he was, as she put it, a philanderer and a womanizer, no doubt about that,” Trump had on the other hand “promised to fund a more powerful armed force.” More ramrod-straight generals for the win!.
Enter the Cheshire Cat.