It is a delicious irony that one of the most constant sources of aggravation for President Donald Trump has been the publication of disparaging behind-the-scenes books about him and his administration.
A man who wears his ignorance proudly on his sleeve, the President is notorious for his aversion to books and to reading in general, which makes it quite appropriate that the steady stream of increasingly embarrassing tell-all books is a constant headache for our would-be despot.
The latest tome to raise eyebrows around the nation is legendary journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, which contains a slew of staggering interviews with White House officials who were surprisingly candid about the absurd lengths they must go to the President from making disastrous decisions, including stealing documents off of his desk so he won’t sign them.
According to Woodward, [former Chief Economic Advisor Gary] Cohn “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice that it was missing.
That wasn’t even the only time Cohn had to do this. The Washington Post reports that in spring 2017, Trump was dead-set on withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, and was forced once again to snatch it away before the president could sign it.
Under orders from the president, Porter drafted a notification letter withdrawing from NAFTA. But he and other advisers worried that it could trigger an economic and foreign relations crisis. So Porter consulted Cohn, who told him, according to Woodward: “I can stop this. I’ll just take the paper off his desk.
The implications of all of this are simply stunning. Either the president of the United States lacks object permanence or he cares so little about the functions of the government he’s supposed to be running that he can’t even be bothered to keep track of his most basic responsibilities, like signing papers.
For his staffers to be speaking so frankly about what the President is really like is both a damning indictment of Trump’s inability to control his staff and a clarion call of an alarm for the nation at large.
When you read things like “[Defense Secretary James] Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader,'” you know things are very, very bad in the White House.
America has no president.