Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Funny Odd Book Review - “Fire and Fury. Inside the Trump White House” By Michael Wolff

Ok I read it. It only took me two weeks to get my hands on a copy. (Yes, I know I could have downloaded an e-book but I like real books. Made out of real paper.)

 After wading through Wolff’s highly dramatized account of life inside the West Wing of The Trump Administration, a few key take a-ways stand out.

Yes there are bits in Wolff’s account that most likely would not stand up to rigorous fact checking. (Not unlike many statements by Trump himself.) Yet if even one-tenth of what Wolff says he heard and saw is true, that alone is mindbogglingly scary.

Wolff’s narrative is almost dare I say it, Shakespearian. Warring factions all plotting for dominance in the Court of an unfocused, volatile, easily manipulated king. The main storyline in the book is the battle between White House “Chief Strategist” Steve Bannon and Donald Trump’s Children. Mainly, his daughter Ivanka and Son in Law Jared Kushner. 

 With each of them trying to get President Trump to adopt their respective agendas. With occasional appearances by White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, and Congressional Republicans. But for the most part this is Bannon vs. “JarVanka”.

As interesting and at times both funny and scary as that saga comes across, it really is secondary to the real issue that Wolff has chronicled in his book. Donald Trump himself. Not what do people think about him, or say about him behind his back Not even is he smart or dumb? Crazy or Sane? Even the personal oddities of how he lives, eats, sleeps and behaves are not the real story here.

Wolff’s account , if even remotely accurate shows why Donald Trump will never succeed as President of the United States, and will keep lurching from one crisis and /or self inflicted disaster to another. Doing extensive damage the country as whole in the process. The reason is remarkably simple,  and in hindsight makes perfect sense.

Donald Trump doesn’t understand anything about the office he ran for and (if Wolff is to be believed),  never expected to win, but did. The President is portrayed as a volatile, disinterested man-baby who must be handled at all times, and who has no ideas, agenda or vision of his own. Trump’s main and at times singular focus is how he is or is not, getting the attention, deference and affirmation he constantly craves.

 Donald Trump is still trying to win his personal campaign to be bigger, more famous and better liked , than everyone who he feels never respected him. Be it the New York social elite. The real estate world, or the Media, in all of its various forms. 

For Trump, this has never been , and will never be about governing or leading the United States of America. For Trump this is all about his desperate need to show them all how great he is.

For Him, this is still about being a bigger and more admired / envied “Celebrity”.

Trump clearly doesn’t understand what it meant when he won, He has already done the most monumental achievement conceivable. The man, like it or not, IS the 45th President of the United States.  Yet, he is unable to grasp the one basic life changing truth about being President of the United States;  There is nothing Trump can do to become more famous than he is now.

As President there will always be people who will criticize, mock and oppose you simply because you are President of the United States. Trump will never get past that. He remains  consumed with the need to  respond and avenge any slight no matter how small. He spends his hours coming up with  insulting nicknames for his “foes”, arranging humiliation for anyone in his orbit who doesn’t constantly validate his incredibly fragile self image.

The actual business of being President just annoys him. Therein, as Shakespeare would say, lies the rub.   Any and all decisions Trump makes as President are done not in the context of leading the nation or the rest of the free world for that matter, but rather done in the context of what he feels will make him a bigger celebrity or punish people he dislikes. Or more accurately, punish people who don’t like him. A list which now includes the majority of the American People.

The biggest surprise for me in reading the book was that Trump doesn’t get it. All those “enemies” he obsesses about? They lost, he won. He is POTUS.  It doesn't get any bigger than this.   Donald Trump has finally gotten what he always wanted. He is the most famous man in the World.   But it's just not enough.  

Even his greatest nemesis, the late Merv Griffin, were he alive today, would have to stand up respectfully when Trump entered the room, simply because he IS the President.   Conversely, the non conservative media, be it The New York Times, CNN or even Vanity Fair, will NEVER suck up to him the way he so desperately wants them to, simply because he IS the President.

Like it or not, his name is now forever linked with that of Washington, Lincoln, FDR,  Reagan and yes, Barack Obama.  In Disney theme parks on a stage full of animatronic US Presidents  it's HIS replica that gets the last word.  But still,  for Donald it will never be enough.   He is the world's biggest "Sore Winner"

The only way Trump will ever get anywhere near the level of adoration and praise he craves, is if he were to actually BE a great President. Something that is utterly beyond his ability. 

The Presidency is beyond his emotional, intellectual and physical capabilities. Additionally his own ego won’t allow those around him to succeed on his behalf, out of a deep pathological fear of others taking the spotlight away from him.  

What comes through in Wolff’s account is a man who could very well launch a nuclear strike just to ensure he is center of attention.

A man who, because he has no grasp of the job he won, will latch on to whatever the last position or idea presented to him was. Presented simply and preferably with color pictures not words.   Donald Trump has only one interest as President of the United States , it isn’t the Republicans, or Democrats or anyone or anything else for that matter. It is about getting adulation and greater fame vis-à-vis people and institutions he envies. For Donald it is about his obsession to affirm his ego, 

If “Fire and Fury” has shown us anything, it is this obsession with celebrity, that  Donald Trump will forever be focused on. In complete disregard for everything a President of the United States needs to be and do, in the here and now.

What Michael Wolff has done, is shine a light on the fact that the only way the Executive Branch of the United States Government can be restored to even the most basic functionality, is to remove Donald Trump from it, as quickly as possible.

No comments: