My Turn: This presidency has been a page-turner

  • Three remaining copies of the book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff are displayed at a Barnes & Noble store, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Newport, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) John Minchillo

For the Monitor
Monday, July 09, 2018

Given the recent crop of books about our president now available in bookstores, that the anti-Trump ones outsell the pro-Trump ones is indeed heartening. Consider, for instance, James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, let alone the Michael Wolff smash hit, Fire and Fury, which has sold over one million. It seems the public is clamoring for an alternative measure by which to gauge the presidency other than the one offered by the president himself.

Coming in at second place, as it were, and topping the list of books in support of the president is Cory Lewandowski’s and David Bossie’s Let Trump be Trump. Since coming out last December, in a book that at times raves about our president, it has sold more than 100,000 copies. But because the co-authors have had a stake in our president’s enterprise as his campaign insiders, not to mention the one by which they stand to gain in terms of royalties, the hair on any skeptic’s neck is sure to rise: Are these two to be believed?

In any case, surprisingly, the two authors rather contradict their allegiance to Trump when they say in their book, “Sooner or later, everybody who works for Donald Trump will see a side to him that makes you wonder why you took a job with him in the first place” – seems believable to me.

Writing in the New York Times, a newspaper eschewed of course by our president because it prints “fake news,” Maggie Haberman described the book as, “a combination of over-the-top praise for [Trump with] nostalgic remembrances of glory days.”

Reviewing Let Trump Be Trump in the Washington Post, David Frum said it is “by turns gullible, dishonest, and weirdly careless.” Sounds a little like our president, no?

With reference to the anti-Trump side of the story, in its book review, again the devilish New York Times commented that “Comey’s memoir offers visceral details on a president untethered to truth.” But Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel depicted the book as “salacious” and that in writing it, Comey “discredits himself.” And yet she said also that she had not read the book. Mm. The RNC chair?

The skyrocketing success of Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is another thing altogether. In this blockbuster Trump is shown to be held in such low regard by his fellow White House staffers that Wolff states “100% of the people around him” consider their president unfit for office. The astute news analyst David Brooks leveled a similar indictment, yet with a qualifier: On the one hand, he said, in light of Wolff’s penchant for stretching the truth, Brooks was “very dubious about accepting everything in the book,” and yet on the other hand, “Nonetheless, the general picture confirms what we already knew. And I think there is a general sense the president is unfit.”

The wide divergence of opinion on the Trump presidency expressed in these books as well as on the street, points to an America unraveling at its seams. That tens of thousands of voices have now come to rain down on our president for his immigration policy is causing a stir among our countrymen as has not been seen in years. Who would trust a president who presides over this crisis with a cold and calculating hand?

Moreover, Trump’s opaque purposes for distancing our allies while cozying up to the dictatorships of Russia and Turkey has left nearly everyone dazed, and the tariffs instigated by him have likewise confounded many of us. Then too oil prices have soared in response to Trump’s recent decision to cut off all Iranian oil exports. Who wants to trust an America as she now presents herself on the world stage? And that says nothing about the terrible stain racism has smeared across our broad landscape.

With protests occurring at a feverish pace, America is not just a melting pot, it’s a pot melting. Because of a racist, nationalistic, largely uninformed president, one who is unapologetically narcissistic, the national ship cruises amid icebergs in the North Atlantic Ocean. And nuclear war and the rest of it is weighed in the balance and found wanting.

America has lost her bearings, and she has done so largely because of its sweeping secularity. Gone are the days of prayer, of self-sacrifice, or of “one good turn deserving another.” In their stead is the swaggering style of a president who commands in as offensive a manner as the presidency has ever known.

Perhaps Donald Trump has lost the majority support of Americans simply because he is God-less and indecent. So far 19 women await legal action against him, and how many women other than Stormy Daniels might have been paid off with “hush money?”

Books may be written either for profit, entertainment, enlightenment, or all three. Sometimes books are written ostensibly to enhance an author’s ego and his pocketbook. A word to the wise would suggest that should you purchase a pro-Trump book, should you mindlessly line up behind him, you do so at your own peril.

(Timothy Langlais lives in Concord.)