A Portrait of a President Who Locations Picture Over Precept


WASHINGTON — Solely a person who’s deeply apprehensive about his personal energy would speak as a lot as Donald Trump does concerning the hazard of showing weak.

That is my greatest takeaway from studying “Worry,” Bob Woodward’s new e-book concerning the Trump presidency. The scoops had been principally revealed final week. What’s contemporary is Trump’s repeated, obsessive discuss weak spot throughout his first 12 months in workplace.

Woodward’s recounting of Trump’s conversations is a examine in character, or lack of it. The president’s self-importance, pettiness and meanness of spirit had been evident already in his tweets and public statements. However right here is the annotated model, as informed to Woodward by Trump’s aides, replete with sufficient “F-bombs” to inventory an arsenal of profanity.

When Trump is on the verge of doing one thing conciliatory — apologizing for a racist or sexist remark, for instance — he stops himself for concern that it’s going to present weak spot. Trump (prodded by his Iago-like deputy macho-man, Steve Bannon) retains insisting that he should keep robust, no matter how unprincipled it might appear.

Woodward’s narrative of the weak spot phobia begins on the low level of the marketing campaign, with the revelation of the “Entry Hollywood” tape during which Trump boasts about grabbing girls’s genitals. His aides have written an announcement during which Trump would concede, “My language was inappropriate, not acceptable for a president.” However Trump protests: “I can not do that. That is bull—-. That is weak. You guys are weak.”

Trump usually expresses a peculiar concern about trying like a child. He blasts marketing campaign supervisor Paul Manafort after a important New York Occasions story, saying, “Paul, am I a child? Is that what you are saying, I am a child?”

Later within the marketing campaign, after Rudy Giuliani defends Trump from the “Entry Hollywood” flap on the Sunday speak reveals, Trump nonetheless is not glad: “Rudy, you are a child. … They took your diaper off proper there. You are like a little bit child that wanted to be modified. When are you going to be a person?”

Nervousness about weak spot mounts when Trump is within the White Home. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has many faults in Trump’s eyes. He is too pleasant to Europe, too keen to accommodate Iran, too unbiased in his views. However Trump sums up the issue at a July 2017 assembly: “Rex, you are weak.”

Essentially the most appalling occasion of inserting picture above precept comes after Trump’s waffling feedback concerning the August 2017 conflict between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Rob Porter, Trump’s workers secretary, encourages the president to provide a conciliatory assertion.

Regardless of fears that it “regarded weak,” Trump follows Porter’s recommendation and, utilizing a teleprompter, tells the nation: “We should love one another, present affection for one another and unite collectively in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence.”

When Fox Information experiences a “course correction” on Charlottesville, the president panics. “That was the most important f—ing mistake I’ve made,” he tells Porter. “You by no means make these concessions. You by no means apologize. I did not do something flawed within the first place. Why look weak?”

It is a Darwinian worldview. By no means retreat; eat or be eaten. Woodward quotes former chief of workers Reince Priebus explaining that Trump did not assemble a “staff of political rivals,” he put “pure predators on the desk.” Priebus notes the inevitable outcome: “If you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo with out partitions, issues begin getting nasty and bloody.”

Bannon shamelessly feeds Trump’s weak spot fixation. Woodward’s e-book offers Bannon a podium to clarify how proper he was about almost the whole lot involving Trump. Bannon comes throughout in these likely tape-recorded soliloquies as Trump’s match as a self-promoting egomaniac.

“I am the director, he is the actor,” Bannon says of his relationship with the president. And ultimately, after he had been fired, says Woodward, “Bannon believed Trump had largely failed as a change agent.” Not powerful sufficient for Steve, evidently.

In my very own conversations with high White Home aides, I’ve seen an identical obsession with reveals of energy. Reversing long-standing positions on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a “robust place.” Preserving the Iran nuclear settlement is a “weak place.” Notion is coverage.

And what about Trump’s ruinous authorized issues with particular counsel Robert Mueller? They’re the fault of Trump’s chicken-hearted legal professionals, in fact. Woodward quotes the tough-guy-in-chief. “I haven’t got any good legal professionals. … I’ve obtained a bunch of legal professionals who aren’t aggressive, who’re weak, who haven’t got my finest pursuits in thoughts, who aren’t loyal. It is only a catastrophe.”

What a child.

(c) 2018, Washington Submit Writers Group