By Glenn Townes
In the opening chapter of his riveting and intriguing new book, Donald Trump V. the United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President, by award winning journalist Michael Schmidt dishes dirt on the President and his mostly spineless, gutless and henpecked subordinates with coy, steady and decisive blows. The 400-plus page book is as salacious and gossipy as it is thought provoking and deftly written. In the first chapter entitled, Rule of Law, Rule of Trump, Schmidt describes the early days of the Trump regime. He writes, “Until that point, it had been a typical day in the Trump era. Typical in the sense that it had been upended that afternoon by yet another astonishing development that alone would have been a remarkable moment in any other presidency but would soon be overwritten in our collective consciousness by the next outlandish thing the president did.” Schmidt, a journalist extraordinaire and a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize as a Washington correspondent for the New York Times, chronicles the tumultuous tenure of the 45th POTUS —from his inauguration to events up until January 2020—just before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmidt’s descriptions of everything from the Russian investigation, impeachment hearings, James Comey, Don McGahn, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the mass defections within the Trump clan and toxic tweets by a twit, and other salient details are shared with precision and triple fact checked details that will keep readers engrossed in the book.
Schmidt also provides scenes that will elicit excitement and perhaps, a bit of jealously among fellow scribes. For example, in a chapter entitled, “He’s Saying Some Crazy Shit,” he writes, “I had been sitting at my desk in the Times’ Washington bureau when the bureau chief, approached me. Given the time of year, the look on her face and who I was—single and Jewish—I had a good sense of what she was about to ask. “Can you spend Christmas vacation with Trump in Florida?” This is what many of us in the journalism business would call “a cushy assignment.” To add to the allure of it all, Schmidt shares that he had taken on the same assignment twice over the previous three years—spending Christmas in Hawaii with President Obama and writing about it. However, he describes his coverage of Obama as indeed “work” despite the tropic locale of pineapples, leis and hula dancers. Schmidt said Obama was active and “sat in the press van in Obama’s motorcade for hours as he, in the wake of imposing new sanctions on North Korea, wen to the beach with his daughters at an Air Force One base, visited his grandfather’s grave, spent time at his sister’s house, hung out with rock star Eddie
Vedder, and then had dinner with friends just before we all got on Air Force One back to Washington.”
However, the trip to Florida with a lethargic, glacial moving and below average golf playing stump like Trump–sitting on the beach, drinking and dancing the night away after writing short blurbs, would be about the extent of work Schmidt had to exert while covering the POTUS in Florida during Christmas—all while on the New York Times dime. Schmidt writes, “…..I joined the press pool early in the morning outside the hotel we were all staying in, got in a van, rode in Trump’s motorcade to the golf club, didn’t really see the president, and filed reports essentially full of nothing back to Washington done in plenty of time to enjoy the evenings.” Alright—pour me a cocktail, that’s my kind of work assignment!
While there are a number of revelations about Trump, his henchmen and other nitwits in his orbit throughout the book, the biggest disclosure in the book provided by far the most palpable answer to a question millions of other people, including me have asked for the past 4 years–why do Trump supporters continue to remain blindly loyal and ignorantly committed to him, after all of his bullsh** and lies? Schmidt, sums it up best. He writes, “Trump’s success at confirming conservative judges had become his political umbilical cord to the base—no matter how unseemly his personal conduct or how bombastic his tweets, the judges are his insurance policy against the growing threats to his presidency. Social conservatives, the largest and most enthusiastic faction of the Republican base, had increasingly seen the courts as their best avenue to enact policies they supported on issues like abortion and gun rights.”
So, in other words, despite his disgraceful, discourteous, disgusting and embarrassing behavior, Republicans continue to hold their noses, close their eyes and are mute to the actions of the POTUS. As long as he continues to champion moral, community and family values mantra through his conservative appointees to the federal courts, despite not actually living by them himself, his cult of followers will continue to follow him. What’s the adage, Do as I say and not as I do? Hail to the Imperial Wizard…we are doomed!
By Glenn Townes