Hey there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Saturday, July 31, 2021. It’s a hot summer day in the Sunshine State. Currently, the temperature is 93˚F (34˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 54% and the wind blowing from the west at 11 MPH (17 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 103˚F (39˚F). The forecast for the afternoon calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 94˚F (34˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy, and the low will be 77˚F (25˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 52 or Moderate.)
As is my habit, I put MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part I aside for the moment and started browsing (I would not call it reading just yet) through I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, the sole non-fiction book of the Trump-related trio that I bought on this last week of July.
Of the three books, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year is the most recent; it was published on July 20 and is sitting pretty as the No. 1 best-selling non-fiction book in the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Per Penguin Random House’s publisher’s blurb:
The true story of what took place in Donald Trump’s White House during a disastrous 2020 has never before been told in full. What was really going on around the president, as the government failed to contain the coronavirus and over half a million Americans perished? Who was influencing Trump after he refused to concede an election he had clearly lost and spread lies about election fraud? To answer these questions, Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig reveal a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency’s inner workings in unprecedented, stunning detail.
Focused on Trump and the key players around him—the doctors, generals, senior advisers, and Trump family members— Rucker and Leonnig provide a forensic account of the most devastating year in a presidency like no other. Their sources were in the room as time and time again Trump put his personal gain ahead of the good of the country. These witnesses to history tell the story of him longing to deploy the military to the streets of American cities to crush the protest movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, all to bolster his image of strength ahead of the election. These sources saw firsthand his refusal to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously—even to the point of allowing himself and those around him to be infected. This is a story of a nation sabotaged—economically, medically, and politically—by its own leader, culminating with a groundbreaking, minute-by-minute account of exactly what went on in the Capitol building on January 6, as Trump’s supporters so easily breached the most sacred halls of American democracy, and how the president reacted. With unparalleled access, Rucker and Leonnig explain and expose exactly who enabled—and who foiled—Trump as he sought desperately to cling to power.
I have only read the book’s prologue, but I can already say that Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker confirm everything I think is wrong with Donald Trump and his disastrous Presidency. He is, without a doubt, unfit to hold any elected office, much less the Presidency of the United States, because he is uncurious about governance, petty, shallow, selfish, and toxically narcissistic.
Here is part of the Prologue from I Alone Can Fix It:
Trump’s actions and words nevertheless had painful consequences. His assault on the rule of law degraded our democratic institutions and left Americans reasonably fearful they could no longer take for granted basic civil rights and untainted justice. His contempt for foreign alliances weakened America’s leadership in the world and empowered dictators and despots. His barbarous immigration enforcement ripped migrant children out of the arms of their families. His bigoted rhetoric emboldened white supremacists to step out of the shadows.
But at least Trump had not been tested by a foreign military strike, an economic collapse, or a public health crisis.
At least not until 2020.
This book chronicles Trump’s catastrophic fourth and final year as president. The year 2020 will be remembered in the American epoch as one of anguish and abject failure. The coronavirus pandemic killed more than half a million people in the United States and infected tens of millions more, the deadliest health crisis in a century. Though the administration’s Operation Warp Speed helped produce vaccines in record time, its overall coronavirus response was mismanaged by the president and marred by ineptitude and backbiting.
The virus was only one of the crises Trump confronted in 2020. The pandemic paralyzed the economy, plunging the nation into a recession during which low-wage workers, many of them minorities, suffered the most.
The May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis ignited protests for racial justice and an end to police discrimination and brutality. Yet Trump sought to exploit the simmering divisions for personal political gain, quickly declaring himself “your president of law and order” and relentlessly pressuring Pentagon leaders to deploy active-duty troops against Black Lives Matter protesters.
The worsening climate crisis, meanwhile, was almost entirely ignored by Trump, who earlier in his term had rolled back environmental regulations and withdrawn the United States from the Paris Agreement. The president was instead preoccupied with stoking doubts about the legitimacy of the election. After he lost to Joe Biden, Trump fanned the flames of conspiracies and howled about fraud that did not exist. His false claims of a “rigged election” inspired thousands of people to storm the Capitol in a violent and ultimately failed insurrection on January 6, 2021.
I am, I think, a good observer of people and human behavior, but I am still amazed at the willful tone deafness and blindness of many Americans who identify as Republican, conservative, and – especially – Christian and support a man like Donald John Trump. I mean, seriously, folks. Trump changed his party affiliation several times during his pre-Presidential career; in 2001, the man who is now the public face of the Republican Party was, in 2001, a registered Democratic Party voter.
And yet, on social media, I still see comments from Trump supporters along the lines of:
Just because you hate Trump the best President ever doesn’t mean he is sick! Matter of fact he’s a genius.
I’ll never understand people – especially white women who proudly display graphics that say “Trump Girl” unironically – who exhibit such cult-like behavior.
I don’t think I will do a deep-read of I Alone Can Do It today; it is, after all, Saturday, and I think I’d rather spend my downtime on other, more entertaining pursuits. You know, like watching movies or even gaming for a bit.
Anyway, that’s all the news I have for today, so I’ll sign off for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
7 thoughts on “On Books & Reading: Browsing Through the ‘Trump Trio’”
While it was good to see some of those who worked with the orange one during his disastrous presidency finally come out against him, it’s also discouraging that no one who’s currently openly opposing him, would do so when it really mattered. WHILE he was in office. However, I’m glad you wrote this piece. Thanks for sharing, Alex.
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Why, thank you for your kind comment.
On the whole, I’d rather be living in an alternate America where the only time I have to think about Trump – if at all – is when I check my nightly TV listings to avoid running into The Apprentice (a show that would still feature Orange Caligula if it had not been canceled).
Good piece, Alex, reflects some of my own feelings. I think alarms will flash internationally after Mark Meadows talking about Trump’s ‘cabinet’. You literally have a shadow anti-American democracy government-in-waiting now, and it’s something that will be crushing for the US on a world stage if it is allowed to continue.
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Conservatism in the U.S. (and in the West in general) has, in my opinion, gone off the deep end.
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Agreed. But the rest of the world won’t go with it. If a Republican government is ejected under the current fascist ethos, they won’t leave, and the free world ends.
Don’t take this the wrong way, I just don’t know why people want to read about Trump. He’s such a loathsome piece of s— that why give him the time of day? Yet these books sell so well to the people who say they can’t stand him. Me, I’d just as soon forget he exists!
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I have two reasons.
First, I majored in journalism and minored in history. In fact, had I been able to complete my studies, I would have majored in both. And as someone who is interested in American history, I have an obligation to learn as much as I can about the subject, even if it includes delving into the less savory bits of it.
Whether we like Trump or not, this era marks an important period in history. Ignoring Trump’s Presidency simply because the man is loathsome is…dangerous.
That’s like saying the 1950s were all rosy and innocent because we had Chuck Berry, The Platters, Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee, Bonzo, the Mickey Mouse Club, and hula hoops as part of the zeitgeist. Sure, there are lots of nifty things to love about the Fifties, but they were also a time of paranoia, existential fear, and social traumas, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, the Korean War, the hydrogen bomb, and racial tensions simmered under the facade of Eisenhower-era prosperity and conformity.
So, as a guy who needs to understand why things are the way they are, and as someone who wants to prevent another Trump Presidency, I need to be informed about the history of these dark times.
My second reason is twofold: the satirical books help me cope with the craziness, and the factual book helps me with my current project…a screenplay that I’m working on.
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