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Linda Tirado @KillerMartinis
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Me, looking at the clock and realizing it’s Woodward time soon

*checks brandy supply*
Ok hello new followers! You picked a great/terrible day to follow me because this is the next installation of my continuing series Linda Gets Drunk And Reads Books So You Don’t Have To!

(Also welcome!)
Previous installments include Hillbilly Elegy
So, here's the deal, for new folks

There's a lot of books we *should* read, whether because they have real impact or because they have impact in the political world, or because they're by someone notable. We do not all have the time/money to invest in that project.
Thusly, a series. I last as long as the drinks do, and I don't go out of pocket on these things, so feel free to send a beer to paypal.me/riseandbeheard or on Venmo to linda-tirado-3, or there's always my Patreon at patreon.com/bootstrap

And with that: get your drinks, people!
Tonight's cultural activity will be a reading of Bob Woodward's new book, called simply "Fear" which.

If you haven't ever written a book, you might not know that the title is the worst/hardest part of it! The book itself is just "write the book." Titles are sales and whatnot.
Or maybe that's just me, but damn I hated the whole title discussion, so it's interesting they went with a single word that is a primal emotion!
We OPEN with that viral anecdote about the letter that Cohn swiped off Trump’s desk so that the sitting President of the United States wouldn’t unilaterally withdraw from critical treaties

Also rob porter is on page two a Good American, which.
Here's a fun story on what a complete and utter waste of water and skin cells Rob Porter is: cnn.com/2018/02/07/pol…
Anyway back to that quote though, "it's what we saved him from doing" which is pretty much where we can close the damn book already

let us all save this man from himself and damn the country amirite
OK "Kushner sent down a paper copy of the draft. It was not of much use." is the best description of Jared Kushner I have ever seen though
So that's the prologue, just "people try to manage the crazy person who happens to be able to blow up the world" is how we set the stage. Nobody who's supposed to be doing a job can do it, as the whole place is an organizational wreck and everyone's always putting fires out.
This is on page two or possibly one (depends on my tablet orientation) but hot damn, this is so much more about Steve bannon’s sex life than I have ever needed to know. Between this and Scaramucci...
If a fiftieth of what is reported in this book is actally true then we’re just as fucked as we all thought but holy mother of whatever you praise we are FUCKED. This whole book is just gonna be me going “how did you people prop this barely-sentient pineapple up so long”
Like who, WHO goes to THAT guy and walks away thinking “well that’s definitely presidential material right there”

Oh wait, probably the same dudes who thought Trump was “in great shape” in 2010
To be very fair, compared to Steve Bannon, Donald Trump is basically Fabio
I feel dirty having typed the previous sentence but it’s true

Also, here we have an example of how knowing too much shit is actually really bad for your reasoning skills because solipsism is a bitch:
Some People: wow American politics really is just for sale to the highest bidder
American Politicians: money in politics is a problem sure but we don’t just do what our donors want
Political Consultants:
What is “a tired truism” Alex

Yes if things had been different, things would in fact be different
Speaking of tired truisms

We’re so, so, so fucked.
Like, from the jump nobody wants anything to do with this guy. This conversation is about how Trump was seriously fucking up and Breitbart, which Bannon ran and Mercer funded, was gonna go down with him, having strongly bought into Trump already
According to this book, they really got Donald Trump elected to make good on their Breitbart investments

And, like, AFTER that they did the Milo thing, so they didn’t even give a shit about the money
This instant is like the first time I ever saw a five star hotel

These people have money on a scale I cannot imagine and have never dreamed, and the games they play are abstract to them but involve millions of us and our futures

We’re ants to them
Just, seriously, stop and imagine that you had put some chunk (say ten bucks if you’re minimum wage or five hundred if you’re solidly upper-middle) of your wealth into a thing and you realized that if you wanted to not lose that money you just needed to fully back Donald Trump
And then imagine realizing he’s an incompetent asshole who absolutely wasn’t suited to the role

And thinking that money was important enough that you’d go ahead and back him anyway, to sit as the leader of the free world

For fucking couch change. Or even an investment.
Sometimes I think it’d be nice to be comfortable instead of a writer

And then I see what comfortable does to you and TBH I’d rather have to get publicly drunk to pay my rent than I would be rich, because that shit is toxic as hell.
Aww look Reince Priebus momentarily had a conscience

Not a real one, mind you, but at least we know now he knows what “incredibly racist shit” looks like?
“Craven” is one of my favorite words and I just found a new example of a definition for it
Seriously imagine finding yourself with the Worst Candidate, someone who screwed you over at every turn, and thinking “you know let’s just go on offense to win” like this was a brand war and not the leadership position for a superpower
STOP TRYING TO MAKE FETCH HAPPEN
Oh look powerful gross men actually do 100% recognize each other
Now since Bannon is going to feature heavily in this book, a note about his “populism.” My dude had working-class parents (in his day, by which I mean they had a one-income family and he went to a private school that his parents sacrificed to send him to)
Then he went into the officer corps of the Navy, at which point he went to Georgetown and Harvard.

Now. I have been out of the kitchen for about five years and my hands have gone soft; how closely connected to the populace is the dude who went to Harvard decades ago?
like sure Trump’s steak choices are simply inhuman but what American populist thinks hot dogs or hamburgers are childish
“Trump seemed to agree that Hillary was a neocon”

Like twenty paragraphs ago the dude didn’t know what pro-life was
stopped clocks and whatnot
Who, outside the booking producers for every major network, thinks Conway is “likeable”

(Also what has this woman got on booking producers I ask you)
What the whole fuck

Ladies are we allowed to just eject a person from the gender because this is as far as I can see fully treason
seriously imagine yourself ever mouthing the words “sir I do not consider myself your equal”

What kind of twisted worldview or brain must you have to ever tell a man that in any context when you have enough money that the rent is paid
And that’s the end of chapter two

I don’t think Woodward fully understood what he was relating here

Because ain’t an amount of drunk I could get to make that closing okay
The best writers of nonfiction know how to juxtapose facts to add up to a sum much greater than their parts
This is a solid place to insert my theory that Wendi Deng is actually one of the world’s greatest unintentional feminists.

If you think about it: she threw over Rupert Murdoch for Tony Blair. After wrecking his marriage she dated Vladimir Putin and ditched him for a rentboy
This woman has systematically destroyed the egos of every evil world leader and it’s like no man is evil enough for her, and tbh women aren’t allowed to be evil

And also she’s just systematically wrecking terrible men

I’m kind of a fan, if a conflicted one
“It turned out Manafort owned the place.

Bannon felt sorry for Manafort”

This is about Manafort’s Trump Tower condo and it’s just great if you’re a petty sort
My god talk about the buried lede

I used to run a swingers’ club, it was fucking awful and I cannot imagine running a club full of people who had inflated egos instead of merely boring marriages and average incomes

That club manager deserves an award
Like this ain’t me kink-shaming, I frankly don’t care who/how people have sex with if it’s cool with everyone but OMG the management headaches of a “premier” swingers’ club must have been epic

Also how did I miss this story
What’s up, fellow young people?
I love and honor the people who’ve lived longer than I have but imagine writing a pop culture book that makes Dynasty references in 2018

God love the people who refuse to accept their aging perhaps
(I know it’s Woodward and we don’t require pop culture from him but come on now Dynasty?)
Absofuckinglutely not

Steve Bannon has spent a lot of time learning to ape working-class profanity

You do not fucking make this shit his trademark, this is politics to begin with and secondly WHAT THE WHOLE FUCK ARE YOU SMOKING
Like you do know that all your fave prim and proper politicians swear like truckers and their staffs are worse

For Woodward to pretend like this isn’t the norm is...

Well, IDK where he’s been working since Nixon but I’ve never met an elected without a blue tongue
Hi, did you ever wonder how you were openly manipulated outside social media? Here is a quick explanation, and also FYI this is standard political practice
Speaking of craven

Just imagine having power and then read this paragraph and imagine all the things you would have to balance and then imagine thinking to yourself “no actually what’s best for me is generally best still”

Reince Priebus is going to be historically infamous
Given the magnitude of what we’ve been fucking with I can absolutely see Priebus becoming an idiomatic synonym with Brute, though the latter at least had the fig leaf that he was *thwarting* an overempowered leader
“Only 70%”
Like at some point are we going to talk about databases and lists and their general value on the public market, or are we just gonna pretend like this isn’t happening

Bannon didn’t hear shit about Walsh except that she controlled the database. She had the phone numbers and email
Can’t decide yet if Woodward is slinging some new slang or whether he’s explaining to his audience how campaigns work but “turf” isn’t a new term invented in the last few years
Turf is “the part of the neighborhood that a field director has deemed walkable in a single volunteer shift” or sometimes it’s a paid shift in which case the sizes of said neighborhood triples because actually volunteers usually suck, speaking in terms of actual impact.
In granular terms, that means that I would typically expect a paid canvasser in reasonably dense turf (which means the houses are at least suburban distances from each other) to knock about 1.75% more doors at least than a volunteer.
(If you’re working a campaign and playing safe, you assume that only 1/3 of your volunteers will show up when they’ve said they would; that 2/3 is called the “flake rate” and your flake rate is what you live and die by)
Anyway this language is absolutely industry standard and has been for ages and it’s interesting to see Woodward explaining it
If you’ve ever wondered how campaigns work

On the Dem side “scoring 90” is called “being a 1” and to translate from Republican scoring a 60 or 70 would be called “being a 3 or 2” which is to say that both parties focus on their base and then the people they’ve deemed persuadable
Like basically political campaigns are about motivating your own voters to show up and telling the opposition that their guy ain’t worth taking the day off for, a solid half of politics is just voter suppression/engagement
Just imagine being the premiere political reporter since literally Nixon and writing anything like this

Your reminder that demographically speaking, Trump’s voter had a median income of $70k, which Woodward didn’t think worth noting here
If you are the (has to be only) lady-type person that said this to Kellyanne Conway may I just say that I hope you’re pregnant forever and that with each pregnancy you pop at least three hemorrhoids that can’t be cured without surgery
(You’re super-welcome, men, for this insight into what childbearing actually means)
(My apologies to the ten people who’ve followed me in the last few minutes and these are the first tweets you’ve seen from me

But like

Pregnancy is fucking horrifying actually)
GOLDMAN FIGHT
I also, as a Woman Of The People, frequently bring up the fourth cycle of The Nibelung to explain politics through my particular populist lens
OK I’m out of liquor so off I go to get more

This book is fully wild in all the predictable ways and also it’s 2018 and so you look at it and think “no there’s no way we’re that stupid” but

Anyway I’m going to buy more whiskey
OK I am back and I have more liquor! So we have just finished up chapter three where Steve Bannon proved his super-working-class cred with an obscure opera reference that’s only broadly known by opera fans and the kind of people who love Wagner because fucking Nazis loved Wagner
Like, I’ve been thinking about this as I went to grab a bottle

I don’t think most people know the plot to the last cycle of the ring, actually

Weird as hell that in 2018 opera isn’t a huge means of societal communication but here we are
Anyway this whole book should be scored to Sigfried’s funeral march
Just casually opening chapter four here
Man just imagine if the whole federal government had actual evidence of actual malevolence for once and it was the single only time they didn’t say fuck-all

I mean, we’ve got people locked up in Gitmo for less evidence than this is all I’m saying
Wat

This dude was promoted to the top of the pile because he knew how to sort out intelligence, which is largely smelling bullshit

Intel ain’t that different from oppo, which ain’t that far from investigative journalism

And he made it to top ranks and was “stunned”

Nah mate
Either Woodward has gone fully credulous or he’s reprinting shit he knows are lies because nobody in national politics post circa 2003 didn’t know how partisan things were
This book is seriously asserting that in 2008 someone who was in charge of intelligence didn’t understand how partisan the country was

And like, was he lying and you’re believing him or are you lying

Because not a single citizen in 2008 didn’t know about the partisan divide
And here we have an author asserting that in 2016 the head of the whole-ass CIA was astounded at the partisanship
OK so the problem was the news cycle and also, apparently, david fahrenthold
OK dude

Tell me more about how the important shit was overshadowed by the silly sexual assault comments
Men fully baffle me

Like, ok russia and all, but how is it possible that a man says aloud “I just touch women however and whenever I want to because I can” and that’s not the scandal that ends him

And also if *that* doesn’t get it why on earth would you think treason would
Like, you think someone who just openly thinks half of humanity is shit is going to value anyone else?

Y’all super high on the good shit or what?
IDK what to feel about this

Like on the one hand fuck Priebus on all available implements, and also on the other jesus some dude actually honestly believed that the access Hollywood tapes would kill a career and that’s kinda sweet in its grotesque way
Legit how long has it been since you believed that rape was a career killer for a man and how much would you pay to get that innocence back

Also fuck this dude fully
Here’s that clip
“*** the team gathered in Trump’s residence. Trump sat in his big gold chair.”

Woodward isn’t stupid. He’s just paying for access.
Also did you want to know why Chris Christie got frozen out because here’s that why
I 100% understand why commentary about the woman who knowingly married Donald Trump is conflicted as hell even as it’s super obvious he’s an abusive husband

Also I love this
Things The Democrats Have Never For All Their Chatter Actually Dealt With And Which Leave Them Vulnerable:
Like this is the party that ejected an SNL dude for making a crude picture but has apparently a huge-ass blind spot for the dude who DID harass women because they’ve already decided to defend the dude who brings in massive fundraising totals

Don’t think women didn’t notice that
(Maybe we could try backing people without a problematic history but TBH I’m a person with a vagina and I wouldn’t make a bet on that anytime soon. Political expediency will, at least in my lifetime, outweigh sexual harassment.)
Which brings us to Mike Pence, who is the person who will be in charge of the country should we demote Trump:
Y’all remember that like day and a half we all thought Pence was mounting a coup and it turned out he was just licking exponentially more boots than we’d understood previously
Someone thought my previous comment about the relative attractiveness of Bannon and Trump was a cheap shot about weight

It wasn’t but here’s that hit and tbh coming from Bannon I got questions
“Bannon realized he had this one. He just had to keep his mouth shut.”

Best opening to a novel ever
OK so it’s after midnight my time and I have to be up to get the kids to school in five hours or so and also my drunk ass just got sucked into a whole world of “ways you can be less of an asshole on twitter” so I’m gonna chase that thread

We pick the book up at 3 PM EST tomorrow
Hello fellow drinkers and political tragics! We are back, recommencing chapter four, which as it turns out I did not actually finish yesterday!

Your reminder that you can chip in on this bar tab at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or on Venmo at linda-tirado-3 and that it’s appreciated!
To catch us up, so far we have learned that the Trump Administration is a trash fire in a dumpster fire in a tire fire in a landfill fire, and also that everyone in the Administration thinks that they personally are amazing, and also that Woodward finds them all striking!
This is about the weekend the pussygrabbing comments came out

Note that Giuliani is already willing to utterly debase himself even when nobody else would “Everyone on the Trump campaign refused to appear on the Sunday-morning talk shows except Rudy Giuliani. Priebus, Christie, even the reliable, thick-armored, never-say-no Conway had been scheduled. All canceled.”
LOL for which loyalty Trump called him a baby, said that the Sunday shows had taken his diaper off, complained to everyone in earshot that he’d mounted a tired defense, and asked him when he was gonna be a man

And Giuliani is still out there doing the Sunday shows for him
Chapter five now, which opens at that debate where Bannon brought in all the women that Bill Clinton has allegedly harassed or worse, and Woodward proves that men really don’t know how to handle that topic at all by calling it his “steamy Arkansas and WH years” which. Gross.
So here’s one of the first throwaway examples of how the networks just sort of handed Trump their air: “At 7:26, Trump tweeted, “Join me on #FacebookLive as I conclude my final #debate preparations”—effectively live broadcasting events as CNN picked up his feed.”
RE: campaign finance, apparently Bannon wanted $50 mil from Trump, and Kushner said there’s no way that would happen, and then this happened:

“Maybe we can get $25 million out of him,” said Kushner, adding a caveat: “He doesn’t have a lot of cash.”
Also we have a huge reckoning to make as a country, because apparently Jared just went around canceling and ordering campaign things that the team had agreed on

Now if you’ve never worked a political campaign, that is *utter chaos* and THEY STILL WON.
If we assume that Woodward gets the general dynamics right, and that Bannon fed him all the bitchiest stuff, then what we’re faced with is the knowledge that we let them fail up so hard we ought to seriously rethink this whole voting thing

And I know about the popular vote, hush
What’s striking is how little new insight there is

Most Woodward books you read knowing he’s a bit too credulous and a bit too cozy but you do find out some things about what happened during the period he’s covering

This is just... trash fire. Trash fire. Oh look, trash fire!
I mean I guess I learned that the Mercers bankrolled Trump because Breitbart had bought in to him so hard and they didn’t want to lose that investment?
There’s two pages about how Trump hates spending money and a fun anecdote about how Mnuchin made him set up a wire transfer for a $10m advance to the campaign the instant they got him to say yes so that he couldn’t change his mind

Like he had the transfer order with him
Also Trump apparently thought Romney lost because he spent too much time with the transition team instead of on the stump and that’s why he absolutely refused to set one up

But he was still mad at Chris Christie for fundraising for it too slowly?
Now here’s a telling anecdote: Mark Meadows went all out for Trump

Because he thought he could get what he wanted if Trump did too

And there’s your explanation for everything the GOP has done in the last years. “Meadows had big plans to oust Speaker Paul Ryan. He handed Bannon a folder. “Read this,” he said. “Some 24 hours after Trump wins, we call the question on Ryan and he’s finished. We take over the House of Representatives. And then we have a real revolution.”
Also apparently the head of the transition team was in the Bahamas when the election happened

What a shitshow
And now we are into chapter six! Here’s hoping it gets less meh, because this is a detailed retelling of nothing so far

Trashfire trashfire trashfire but somehow without warmth or intensity
(Also this book so far might be called “as told by Steve Bannon” quite comfortably.)
In chapter six, Trump starts to meet real live statesmen and generals and stuff, and they tell him weighty things about his new responsibilities! Also there’s this, separated by one short paragraph, which. Steve Bannon is unhinged. Mattis looked directly at Trump. We need to change what we are doing, he said. It can’t be a war of attrition. It must be a war of annihilation.“Bannon considered Mattis too liberal on social policies and a globalist at heart, but the connection Trump and Mattis had made was central. Mattis was both a warrior and comforter. Bannon soon was calling him “the Secretary of Assurance” and “the moral center of gravity of the administration.”
LOLOLOL MY GOD these people thought they could make Trump seem like a PM

Can you imagine a less British sort of human to try to jam into a British norm? Hells bells I once made a lady uncomfortable on the Tube complimenting her shoes

Trump is a next-level American tbph “At Bedminster, Bannon arranged to make the photo shoots of candidates being interviewed look like 10 Downing Street as Trump and visitors walked through the large door.<br />
“It’ll be perfect,” he told Trump. “We’ll put the media across the street. And you’ll meet and greet like a British prime minister.”
Next few pages are Mattis and the Corps’ history with Iran and how it made Mattis hawkish as hell on Iran but there’s the most jarhead of all jarhead lines in here: apparently Mattis did his deputy’s laundry. The deputy, finding Mattis folding: “Sir? What the fuck are you doing?”
(That one was for @thrashtom)

And here’s the end of this chapter, where we learn that Trump thought Tillerson looked right on TV and that’s how he became one of the most powerful men in the world! “In December, Trump thumbed his nose at the Washington political world but embraced the business establishment and named Tillerson as his secretary of state, the top cabinet post. Trump told aides that Tillerson looked the part he would play on the world stage. “A very Trumpian-inspired pick,” Kellyanne Conway said on television, promising “big impact.”
Also, look, Conway is a ghoul that can barely communicate but what the hell is a “Trumpian-inspired pick” when it’s Trump picking them? This makes no sense in the English language, is there another language it would make more sense in? HOW IS THIS WOMAN A COMMS PROFESSIONAL?
People had to have hired her *before* this, she had a whole-ass career and I just want to know how and/or why
Next chapter: Gary Cohn! Who, and finance twitter will have parsed all this out much better than I can, had to convince Donald Trump that the government can’t just print more money to fix the deficit, nor borrow a lot of money and sell it back when prices rise

Okay so
I spent a lot of my life working in fast food and bars and chain diners. Now it’s my job to talk about class and government programs and I know a metric fuckton more about monetary policy now than I did before.

I still knew more about how money works than the millionaire
Which brings up an interesting point about money and class: rich people frequently don’t have to know how money works because they just pay people to do that. It’s why Trump was shocked Mnuchin wanted him to sign the wire transfer - that’s an admin’s job. Not the money-haver’s.
Now, very poor people don’t usually need to know a damn thing about interest because ain’t nobody giving us money that we haven’t already earned, and sometimes they don’t give us that.

But I’d bet an average teacher or union plumber knows how interest works better than Trump did
Which is to say: pick anyone with a family income of under about 50K and they’d have a better base knowledge of these things than Trump did
Anyway back to the book

Gary Cohn: had at least one legitimately real and valid opinion that one time, it’s on record now
What in credulous hell

This anecdote is about how Cohn at Goldman had been making just oodles of money because the US tax rate was high enough they’d been helping companies offshore, and THIS IS WHAT WOODWARD PRINTS
Not “Gary Cohn, who knew full well and contextually admitted that he knew that what he was doing was bad for the nation, finally got out of his profit hole for long enough to remember he was a citizen here”

Woodward printed that instead. He really does love powerful people!
*headdesk* *harder headdesk* *blood-inducing headdesk* “If you’re here eight years, you’re going to deal with the automation of the automobile and truck. About 25 percent of the U.S. population makes a living driving something. Think about that.”<br />
“What are you talking about?” Trump asked.”
With all due respect to my elders, I sometimes forget that Trump is 72 years old
LOL which makes me also remember that Hillary was the youth candidate because she was only 69 during the campaign
“You trade in commodities,” Trump said, “why don’t you think about being secretary of energy?”

He said this to Cohn

Rick Perry suddenly makes so much more sense

He’s from Texas right where the oil is
OK so

Steve Mnuchin is only the secretary because he personally leaked that he was the secretary after Trump offered the job to Cohn

In front of Mnuchin, who’d already taken the job

Who left that meeting and declared publicly that he was the secretary to force Trump to lock in
Do we love or hate Lisa Cohn because TBH I’m not sure “Cohn’s wife, Lisa, said he should do it because he owed the country a great deal. “You’re too slow, you’re too fat and too old to serve your country any other way.”
Okay so

Here’s a scenario

Here’s a guy who’s running fucking Goldman

And the head of the RNC thinks “he’s not on our side”

Like, my dude, did you think he was on the side of the workers

He runs fucking Goldman

Goldman Sachs “Priebus, who was in the meeting, worried about the on-the-spot hires. He later said to Trump, “We’re going to hire the guy, a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton, to run our economic council? Why? Shouldn’t we talk about this? I’m sure he’s really smart. Shouldn’t we have a conversation before we offer a job like this?”
Like this is the dude who a few paragraphs ago was like “well, this is what’s objectively good for the country and so I’ve just been shamelessly exploiting that for years and completely knowingly fucking over America”

And Reince Priebus wants to know if the GOP can trust him
Priebus clearly didn’t get the access (or grant it maybe) to Woodward that Bannon did because LOL in what fucking world does the official voting record of the head of Goldman make even the most minuscule of difference to whether the head of Goldman would back Trump in a heartbeat
Woodward has forgotten, I think, that these people he’s writing about ain’t just people

Like he has gotten to know them so he sees them as people but he hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that they’re not

They’re the people who run the world
LOL this seems about on par “Obama had removed Flynn from head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 for management failures. And after the campaign Trump had ignored advice from Obama not to take Flynn as his national security adviser.”
The rest of the chapter is about Flynn and there’s nothing valuable except for this, which is a whole lie

I have bills to pay and kids to feed and frankly that’s why I do these live-tweets

I never went to Russia, though it was offered, and for bank. “Anyone” wouldn’t do this.
I was, when I first came to public attention, a harsh critic of the American system. I still am. But absolutely I got offers from Russia, fully paid trips and the like just to do an in-studio interview

And I was coming out of poverty, and I said not a chance

So fuck this dude
I cannot tell you why exactly but I love this use of quotations

Like is the style guide not up on kinks, or? Brennan had called Clapper. He had received a copy of a 35-page dossier, a series of reports from former British MI6 senior officer Christopher Steele that detailed alleged efforts by Russia to interfere with and influence the presidential election—to cause chaos, damage Hillary Clinton and help Trump. The dossier also contained salacious claims about Trump, Russian prostitutes and “golden showers.”
Aww you guys Woodward actually believed that McCabe and Comey were trying to duck the legacy of Hoover

Or he’ll write it anyway

Y’all remember when you were that innocent
OK then sure

Who needs the CIA to have solid evidence amirite
a polygraph measures biological reactions like increased heart rate and the like and is inadmissable as evidence in many US courts because an accomplished liar can beat a polygraph while a lot of innocent people will register increased heart rate under interrogation
But sure this major US intel agency that’s relying on decades-old discredited science for hiring decisions can 1000000000% be trusted on intel
And we’re to the pee tapes

Frankly I’m absolutely not screencapping this because Woodward doesn’t have anything new to say beyond “salacious details were made speculatively public” and fuck that, IDK why you waste that ink
For no reason that I can see, Woodward and his editors have decided that this is the chapter in which we simply juxtapose White House statements to illustrate how disjointed the White House was in early days

Like, my dude, we know, we lived here
Men of a certain age writing about much younger women continues to be gross, news at eleven “Hope Hicks, 28, the public relations specialist who had been Trump’s press secretary during the campaign. She had two qualities important to Trump—loyalty and good looks. She had modeled as a teenager and now, with perfectly made-up eyes and long brown hair swept back on one side, she had the polished and glamorous look Trump liked. She also had genuine public relations skills.”
Whole paragraph about her looks and then “she also had genuine skills”

Come on now
(Some people will argue that Woodward is merely translating Trump here and I will tell you that I am the one screencapping the book and this is some descriptive license that was not at all attributed to anyone, and so it’s exactly as gross as it seems when I screencapped it)
Okay so

Oppositional defiance

From an employee of Donald Trump. “Hicks was convinced the media had “oppositional defiance syndrome,” which is a term from clinical psychology most often applied to rebellious children. “Oppositional defiance syndrome” is characterized by excessive anger against authority, vindictiveness and temper tantrums. As far as she was concerned, that described the press.”
In my earlier roundup of books I have drunkenly read so you don’t have to I completely forgot about the Comey book
Anyway Woodward quotes Comey about how Trump’s hair is 100% real up close
He also continues the Comey quote to the part about how Comey made sure to note Trump’s hand size which was, according to Comey, “smaller than mine but not unusually so” which I can only hope I pointed out when I read that as an insult that isn’t my lane but is noted
This next bit gets into some weird shit about journalistic and idk maybe federal ethics and I think perhaps it’s been underreported because it seems like process and filler

But I think there’s something here that’s worth discussing, so I’m going to pick this up tomorrow
Woodward writes about himself discrediting the dossier on Fox News Sunday and the book so far, frankly, isn’t really a page-turner so much as it’s a quick read because it’s all pretty standard for Trumpworld

But this part I’d like to relate to you at the beginning of the night
We’ll pick up sometime after noon central (-5GMT)
No wait the rally for the striking hotel workers is at 1300

So it’ll be after that sometime
Hello Woodward fans and anyone looking for a break back into that blessed blessed long ago of Tuesday when this book was released! Grab a drink, because I sure am, and when I'm set up we commence!
Okay so we left off with me hoping that I had sufficiently noted Comey’s bitchiness (I checked, I did, well done drunk me) and we are back to the part where everyone explains how delicately they handled telling Trump that actually, everyone knew about Russia to some extent
In this telling of the “dear mr president we have a pee tape problem” meeting, Trump asked a useful question with “is there anything else” and Clapper said yes and that’s when Comey took his five minutes to fill Trump in privately
Oh here’s the part I wanted to be early in the night for: Woodward has harsher words for Comey telling Trump about the tapes than he has had for any single character in the book yet. “Comey had introduced the dossier as if to say, by the way, here is this scurrilous, unverified, unsupported footnote with some of the ugliest allegations against you.<br />
They wanted the formal assessment to be believed by the president-elect. Why pollute it with the dossier summary? They knew enough about Trump to know it would rile him up. It likely would have riled anyone up. Why would they
And here is the question that I wanted to be pretty sober before I asked in public about a legendary figure in my field: How is this a reasonable comparison? “But including it, even in scaled-down form, in one of the most important briefings the intelligence chiefs might ever present to a president-elect made little sense to me. It would be as if I had reported and written one of the most serious, complex stories for The Washington Post that I had ever done—and then provided an appendix of unverified allegations. Oh, by the way, here is a to-do list for further reporting.
Woodward then takes a lot of paragraphs to point out that the legacy of Hoover meant that it is quite a delicate proposition for the director of the FBI to say “oh by the way we have intel on your sex workers” but how is that the same as saying you’re going to press?
(It feels incredibly strange to fact-check Woodward) anyway most of the dossier has checked out so far, and it came from what is generally agreed to be a pretty credible authority, and it should be noted that this wasn’t an affidavit of fact, but a roundup of credible gossip.
We then hear about the time Woodward went on Fox to say the dossier was “a garbage document” and how Trump tweeted his thanks which made Woodward feel kinda weird, and that ends the chapter!
Chapter 9 opens with Steve Bannon as the voice of reason on Yemen

And then, in what is surely one of the least defensible sentences this man has ever written: “Trump decided to go to Dover, Delaware, to observe the ceremony for the arrival of his body. Ivanka accompanied him.”
This was the first military death of his presidency. And Woodward positions his going to Dover as some kind of affirmative thing, rather than the expected thing

Which Woodward knows, given his years writing presidential war books
The Commander in Chief of the United States of America:
““That’s a hard one,” he said afterward. He was clearly rattled. He let it be known he would make no more trips to Dover.””
And then two pages about how much emotional energy Trump spent on troops’ families which TBH, gross.

It is still followed up with the observation that Trump lied to families, because “he knew what they wanted to hear.”
On February 8 2017 Donald Trump had dinner with the top officials in America, who explained what NATO actually was to him.
Chapter ten! A few pages retelling of the saga of Mike Flynn, who served as national security advisor for some twenty five or so days, setting a record for shortest term that will be hard to beat

He’s one of the people who lied about Russian meetings
Marine general is racist, and then a few pages about how a particular story in the NYT was largely not true which is weird given that facts very like that NYT story later turned out to be true.
Chapter 11: HR McMaster looks pretty much like a military guy when he wears the uniform
Chapter Twelve: Bob Woodward doesn’t approve of Obama’s handling of North Korea, which is a huge problem, and also James Clapper is the only voice of reason on the issue
Chapter Thirteen: Lindsey Graham Sells His Soul

I wish there were anything in any of these chapters worth screencapping, but TBH there’s not. I’m telling you this all like I’d tell you your parents got laid last night: I might know it, but you don’t want the details of how.
Other things Woodward thought worth retelling: that one time John McCain had dinner with his wife at the White House, and also Trump doesn’t understand complex deals with South Korea.
Chapter 14: Administration Israel hawk cozies up to Kushner, whose family is friends with Netanyahu.

Also that one time Kushner just casually rang the prince of Saudi Arabia to sweeten some arms deals to get a summit to come off, so.
Chapter 15: Afghanistan: what a mess! Trump: kind of racist! Bannon: very smart! Lindsey Graham: a hawk!
Chapter 16: Trump Doesn’t Like Iran Deal but we get this quote from Mattis to Spicer:

“Sean,” Mattis finally said, “I’ve killed people for a living. If you call me again, I’m going to fucking send you to Afghanistan. Are we clear?”
Chapter Seventeen: Trump doesn’t like NAFTA, Gary Cohn resorts to increasingly more infantile analogies to try to explain how trade deficits work, and also Rob Porter shows up, about which:
Also: Porter becomes head of trade internally because he happened to be standing in front of Priebus, and also again

Trash fire
Trash fire
Trash fire
Okay hello party nerds I have found the thread! Off we go, a few shots in, reading Chapter Eighteen!

Feel free to chip in a drink at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or at patreon.com/bootstrap
First thing: chapter 17 should be called “Gary Cohn attempts to explain the basics of the economy to the capitalist” because hot damn, he’s out here trying to explain why actually, a trade deficit isn’t wholly evil on the face of it and apparently Trump was having none of it
We end on another anecdote about how Trump likes to hear things that feed his confirmation bias and also how some people in the administration work there because they’re batshit and they think Trump will push through their policies

That wasn’t the point, but that’s what it is.
Chapter 18 for real now, and we open with me wondering how any journalist ever in any universe gives Bannon this much favorable coverage, because you see Bannon totally told Priebus that he was gonna play second fiddle. Because Bannon worries about stability or something.
Can anyone explain this last paragraph to me because I feel like it’s a wonderful nonsequitur

And also in what world are the two closest people to the policies of Donald Trump moderate Democrats I ask you “No one could fire the family. That was not going to happen.<br />
The president would go as far as to say a number of times, “Jared and Ivanka are moderate Democrats from New York.” It was more description than complaint.”
Next: Steve Bannon and Ivanka Trump get screamingly catty. And there’s a wonderful bit that Woodward gives us about how the trouble with HR McMaster’s briefings was that he was too linear

He just has to explain A and B before C “You’re a goddamn staffer!” Bannon finally screamed at Ivanka. “You’re nothing but a fucking staffer!” There needed to be some order. “You walk around this place and act like you’re in charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!”<br />
“I’m not a staffer!” she shouted. “I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter”—she really used the title—“and I’m never going to be a staffer!”
Trump’s deputy campaign manager just casually gives Bannon advice that consists of: LOL OF COURSE TRUMP IS GOING TO NEPOTISM

And in this timeline, Bannon merely bows to the wisdom of that
“Priebus found that McMaster was also a bit of a hothead” after McMaster asked “what the fuck, man” when informed that the Prime Minister of India was getting the bare minimum reception after years of building up to the visit

OK sure, that’s being “a hothead”

Asking wtf Trump
I do not buy this

About Syria: Woodward has Trump as saying “let’s kill the lot of them”

I totally buy the rash willingness to massacre people to be clear

Just when has anyone ever heard Trump use UK English
The quote is actually “let’s kill the fucking lot of them” and how I misquote someone to lose the profanity is absolutely beyond me
Wow here’s a whole complete paragraph

“As the Syrian civil war ground on, Obama was tagged with a strategic failure. The war had left more than 400,000 killed and millions of refugees.”

“Tagged with a strategic failure” ok
Next: EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE HATES EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

On Syria everyone has an opposing opinion even if they agree on what should be done in Syria, and that’s the closest I can come to explaining that unless you read the whole thing.
One of two things is true, or possibly both or maybe none

1. Steve Bannon is right
2. Steve Bannon is the proverbial stopped clock

Anyway no you don’t bomb people to *not* start a war, generally, that’s how that bombing thing works as a rule
Hell I *need* glitter in my vodka after that tweet
LOL YOU GUYS

We already don’t credit basically anything in this book because Woodward has way too big a crush on a few people but let’s give the man credit as a journalist and assume he’s at least sourced the quotes even if the sources are lying

So, we have the following
Steve Bannon. According to this book. Called someone a warmonger.

I have no questions because answers will only poke holes in this impossible deliciousness
Lindsey Graham is definitely a source and also is the *cattiest* boy on the block

I’m conflicted about him like I am Wendi Deng, like fuck I hate everything you love but also I just have to admire the technique “No, I’m glad to hear from you, Mr. President.”<br />
“I bet you are the happiest guy in town.”<br />
“Happy is not the right word. I’m proud of my president.” Graham could hear a pin drop. “You did something that should have been done a long time ago.”<br />
“A hundred countries have called,” Trump said.<br />
Graham thought, probably, maybe, 10.”
Also feel free to hit up that link and send whiskey ‘cause I’m just gonna save you this whole passage where Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump have a conversation about how they hate to see kids in the Middle East put in harm’s way
Oh hey you remember how Joe Scarborough, the former GOP Congressman, inexplicably rebranded himself as anything but a Tea Party dude and now millions of good Democrats watch him every morning

Actually let us briefly diverge
If there is any single thing wrong with America it’s that a GOP congressman can get a network slot as the “alternate” viewpoint and no matter his voting record (Joe Scarborough, when he had power to make law, was an open social conservative and corporate stooge) he wins ratings.
I know people who are in Congress. They watch this show. And I don’t know how, when it’s a known opportunist and morally bankrupt mediocrity that’s headlining it.

That dude and his sidekick (she doesn’t get a name, you see, it’s his show) were fully fellating Trump for ages.
They didn’t turn on Trump until after he’d turned on them.

This is why I don’t watch network, generally. If I wanted to know what the Tea Party thought liberals wanted to hear I’d call my family and set up a talking session. I ain’t paying cable for all that.
Anyway this has been our periodic moment wondering what the fuck anyone is thinking putting Peggy Noonan on TV before anyone’s had coffee
Anne-Marie Slaughter congratulating Trump on Syria made the book
OK so there’s a lot going on in a few un-newsworthy paragraphs

1. Ivanka showed Donald pictures of Syrian kids and he not only felt emotion he sustained it, ergo wanted to bomb Syria a lot
2. Bannon accuses Defense of warmongering
3. Mattis takes Trump out of a second strike
*talks

But come on now this is like talking to the Sphinx about rowboats and chickens and foxes
We close the chapter with “all the military and NatSec guys played CYA as much as possible, which annoyed all the other military and NatSec guys who of course thought they should be top dog.”
Chapter 18 now! Trump is impetuous on NAFTA and weirdly Rob Porter, the rapey dude, is the only adult in the room urging caution! We wonder who Woodward’s source on that conversation is!
All of this information is free on Google

IDK that “China looks up US information a lot” is that much of an edge really? “The United States was in kindergarten compared to China’s PhD. The Chinese knew which congressional districts produced what products, such as soybeans. They knew which swing districts were going to be important to maintain control of the House. The Chinese would target bourbon from McConnell’s Kentucky and dairy products from Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin.”
Wilbur Ross and Rob Porter once got into a metaphorical slapfight about deficits

That’s whole paragraphs, you’re welcome
Wilbur Ross is eight or so years older than Trump so draw your own conclusions about this subtext “I thought you were a killer,” Trump said to the 79-year-old Ross. “When you were on Wall Street, you made some of these deals. But you’re past your prime. You’re not a good negotiator anymore. I don’t know what it is, but you’ve lost it. I don’t trust you. I don’t want you doing any more negotiations.”<br />
Ross tried to defend the deal—the U.S. would be exporting more beef—but Trump had tuned out.”
Aww look chapter twenty opens with Bannon telling Trump about the importance and gravity of institutions, this time the FBI in the context of firing Comey, which Bannon off course was 100% against

It’s so sweet when you can just watch a writer developing a crush
And Rosenstein only wrote that bit of official history to keep Trump satiated but more fool him Trump ran with it

Bannon and Priebus of course stay squeaky through this retelling
This is at what, a fourth grade reading level “Trump was watching lots of cable news coverage of his May 9 firing of FBI Director Comey. It was not going well”
Next we learn that Trump didn’t like it when people who had a reputation for honesty instead of graft were put in charge of things like “investigating graft” and especially if that was Trump graft
It’s actually amazing how many words one can devote to rephrasing “Trump, who didn’t understand what was happening, was very upset” and how similar those words are to the explanations for “Trump, who knew exactly what was happening, was very upset”
Chapter 21: John Dowd Is The Latest Of Big Names In The Meritocracy To Just Wholly Show His Nape To Trump
JFC he charged Trump $100K monthly and according to Woodward that’s half his usual rate

All I’m saying is I had one single really great, outstanding year and that one time LOLOLOLOLOLOL JESUS NO WHAT DO YOU EVEN DO WITH $12K IN A MONTH
OK here’s how impossible that number is

I full-on made that monthly into a yearly and was about to apologize for the bad math

My brain 100% refused to process that wealth in a month
Next up: Donald Trump Is Lonely, Trusts Nobody

That’s basically it, not news except that he was apparently either willing to pay (or thought the taxpayer would cover) the legal bills so he could call and yell at people whenever he wanted, as he thinks that’s what lawyers are for
After that: Woodward makes the stunning revelation that Trump doesn’t quite understand the legal system

I know

I had to sit down too
Actual whole pages now about how Mueller was appointed and then the White House counsel told Mueller that absolutely the White House was totally behind all Mueller’s efforts
“Hi my name is Bob Woodward and I 100% published these sentences” “Dowd had found no Trump tapes or witnesses unfavorable to Trump other than Comey.<br />
At the same time, he had been a prosecutor. He knew the culture. Prosecutors like to make cases, especially high-profile ones.”
I know this will blow you away but Trump didn’t love the Mueller investigation from the jump

And Melania is way more into her kid than she is into her kid’s dad

I know, heartstopping news here
Oh hey Trump thought his tariffs were working before they even kicked in

God bless that single #resistance person in the administration or else we’d really be fucked, stuck with a president that doesn’t understand anything but immediate gratification

Imagine that
Thank God for that anonymous person who’s totally checking Trump’s worst impulses

Like in this book so far he’s insulted eight world powers and this is the kind retelling, so.
Bob Woodward was surprised. Someone said to him “I think this is true, and I believe it is true, and if it isn’t I’ll apologize to you” and Woodward was so taken by this novelty that we devote whole pages to it
Totally possible I just don’t understand words but it feels like the quotes are different than the description and extrapolation here

Specifically I had always thought that “go slow” and “bold action” were kind of opposites

Maybe that’s just me “I hope we go slow on this,” said Mattis. “That loss of human intelligence would be a big thing.”<br />
“Continued travel poses the risk of hostage taking,” Tillerson said, but he did not disagree with Pompeo and Mattis about the importance of the human sources.<br />
The consensus was that without taking bold action, the U.S. risked being seen as tepid and lacking in the new normal of an ICBM-equipped NK”
Now here’s a whole passage about how nobody could kill Saddam even though we technically ruled that we were allowed to target things of high military value

But we got him in the end right so let’s move on

Whole paragraphs about how the people felt *before* they learned
Apparently American legal scholars were fully apoplectic about whether it’s actually legal to do an illegal thing if you have enough lawyers to stave off charges

(Protip: it’s not legal to do illegal things)
“The CIA engaged in some high-level introspection over the next several years.”

OK bro
“This self-examination peaked years later during the time John Brennan was CIA director, 2013 to early 2017. An agency man to the core with a smooth, confident and austere manner, he had vast CIA experience and a track record for being right. On television he rarely smiled.”
Related: John Brennan who totally wasn’t a source has strong opinions about the Middle East

He thinks everyone that wasn’t him ran the place wrong

Woodward just goes with this
Wait I’m so sorry

Apparently the feds did a drill in the Ozarks because it’s topographically like North Korea

But they left their radios on a public channel

JFC
Also John Kelly got mad at Jared for not being a big enough asshole to immigrants, so

Let us wonder where that sourcing came from
Now I ain’t a Rhodes scholar God knows

But I feel like you don’t have to be one of the top intellects if the world to understand DACA

Or to not be a bigot really

I feel like you go get those honors specifically for being able to sympathetically perform bigotry properly
“Steve Bannon: Even Too Bigoted For Lindsey Graham”
“Lindsey Graham: Will Totally Accept Steve Bannon For As Long As It Helps Lindsey Graham”
Chapter 23 now! We learn that as far as Woodward knows or says, Ivanka is *my god the odds on this* exactly what all her puff pieces says she is, super dedicated to women and the environment!

Like here’s this woman just casually connecting the President with Zuckerberg!
Also, turns out the nepotistic kings and queens of the west wing are nepotistic appointments

I know, we’re all shocked
Rob Porter, the man who beat both his wives (though you’d never know that from this book thus far) has opinions on ethics and general behavior
Turns out (if you were curious) the Paris accords went down because not a single person near Trump had the testicular fortitude to tell him no

Lots of paragraphs on how they all justified not telling him no, so at least they’re redeemed to history
Really I never wanted history to note me because usually history only notes people for their most painful bits

But just imagine that history *did* remember you and you went down as “that guy whose name I don’t remember that helped Trump on [insert issue]”

How utterly ending.
The next bit can be summed up as “Trump said things” but as all the things were bullshit I’m not quoting them
So it’s not effervescent prose or anything but damn if I don’t love this sentence

“Jared remained a mission Priebus failed to accomplish.”
So, so, so many implications
This is the part of the book where Priebus is trying to get Trump home to the residence late enough he doesn’t see the nightly shows and Steve Bannon is taking control of national security and also international relations apparently

America: just the greatest here
Fucking hell, Steve Bannon, who clearly has just zero regard for his own well-being, apparently straight-up showed Mattis contempt more than once

That dude married the Corps and right or wrong you do not tell fucking Mattis that he’s not clear on that Middle East thing generally
Like Trump picked him ‘cause he looks like a general and all

But one does not insult a Marine whether enlisted or officer, and specifically not a high-ranking one, and expect that one will not pay

Not in ranks, anyway.
And LOL Bannon was in the Navy sure but he was an officer

Lemme tell you how many tenths of a breath Mattis had for him
To be clear I never enlisted, just I married into military and so I have an inkling, let us say
OK but

I get that nobody with a soul would take or hold this job but what if it was your job to say “mr President” and then explain the fully bare minimum to him, like things you’d expect high schoolers to know and understand
Oh good we’re into the part where the White House got all cozy with folk they liked and froze out those they didn’t. Yay! Holiday!
Not sure what Bannon had at that moment but I want whatever it is that makes you think “the generals” are anything like progressive

Fuck legality, i just want to live in that world where that’s true for like an hour, willing to get there chemically just like Steve Bannon did
OK so like

I’m a journalist technically speaking

I cannot imagine getting this close to my subjects and not disclosing my biases

I do the kind of writing that straight reporters hate and think sullies their names and tbh I’d have understood if I knew this was the norm
My typical piece: starts with “here’s all the reasons this piece is my opinion and you shouldn’t credit it”

Chapter 21 of Woodward’s new book begins on: An attorney for the United States Government, apropos of nothing, just recites Rob Porter’s CV highlights, no motive, all fine
This is a totally normal and natural conversation one might have
A totally normal conversation between actual humans, this is definitely how it went down
Okay y'all we are back, and this is gonna be fun!

As always, buy a drink at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or venmo at Linda-Tirado-3
Also *ahem* I regret to inform you that my previous reading of chapter 21 was in fact 24, so let’s rewind just a bit!
The bits that might bear mentioning but weren’t at all interesting, as I look over my previous thread, are that Trump doesn’t like to hear about impeachments or investigations. Also Ivanka and Jared have way too active a role at the White House.
What’s fascinating is that there’s apparently nothing that goes on at the White House that we don’t see to some extent. It’s just that much of a blunt-instrument kind of place.
*sigh* you guys I’m even sober

It’s chapter 25 we’re on

This is what happens on news days like today
Apparently they tried at one point to get Trump to send all his tweets to staff to approve and spell-check but he refused
Now this quote I fully believe.

Trump, on Twitter going to 280 characters: “It’s a good thing,” Trump said, “but it’s a bit of a shame because I was the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.”
Couple things: apparently Trump once invited Malcolm Turnbull into a SCIF, which.

Also, fuck Bob Woodward for this. Fuck him right in the ear. “Under the agreement, certain refugees with questionable backgrounds waiting on an island off Australia would be allowed to enter the U.S.”
“Of questionable backgrounds” my ass

They’re just people the Australian far right has determined aren’t wealthy enough to see Australia’s shores.

Someone self-immolated to bring attention to the plight of his fellow refugees. It’s like Guantanamo but on steroids and *eviler.*
“Oh it was some deal where we’d take all the criminals”

My dude five seconds on the Google would have brought you articles from all over the world about these refugees, this wasn’t an obscure detail about that deal

They’re just people who tried to sail to Australia
(Google Manus or Nauru for that FYI)
I think this might be a perfect encapsulation of every complaint I have ever had about globalization or capitalism, and this is also that Adam Smith quote about how people in a trade can’t help but plot if they’re alone together in a room come to life
This would be an achievement for a toddler

What the hell “Scribbling his thoughts in neat, clean penmanship, the president wrote, “TRADE IS BAD.”
This is SO MANY PAGES to transcribe “I saw a trash fire. And then I saw another one.”
Rex Tillerson apparently wouldn’t work with anyone at State that he hadn’t hand-picked which caused a multi-level discussion chain

This is the level we’re to now
Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions had a weird conversation where they agreed that God had put trump in office and then Bannon told Sessions that Trump was attacking him to cover up for Jared testifying

Also Trump dislikes Sessions
Bannon works in the UK now
OK parenting calls

Pick up later
I hope you guys are ready for this super-action-packed Saturday night of carrying on with Woodward! This will serve as your reminder that you can send drinks to paypal.me/riseandbeheard or on Venmo at Linda-Tirado-3

I’ll link the top of the thread next, in case you need that
Here’s that link! Now grab a drink and read along with me!
Long conversation, short retelling

Most top advisors: Iran isn’t violating the deal
Bannon: why won’t Europe back sanctions then?
Trump: yeah, those guys suck and also the commander in Afghanistan isn’t a winner.

That’s really it.
Wait no, it goes two more pages, in which Trump demands that Mnuchin declare China a currency manipulator, that the Marines just go “kill people,” actually just a whole list of bonkers things.

And then it ends thusly: “Like $3.5 billion, 28,000 troops,” the president said. He was really hot. “I don’t know why they’re there. Let’s bring them all home!”<br />
“So, Mr. President,” Cohn said, “what would you need in the region to sleep well at night?”<br />
“I wouldn’t need a fucking thing,” the president said. “And I’d sleep like a baby.”<br />
Priebus called an end to the meeting. Mattis seemed completely deflated.”
OK so this is why that “resistance in the White House” thing is such utter tripe and waffle

This is what they were saying to themselves six months in. And they’re still there. “It seems clear that many of the president’s senior advisers, especially those in the national security realm, are extremely concerned with his erratic nature, his relative ignorance, his inability to learn, as well as what they consider his dangerous views.”
“At times the NSC process worked” is probably the most complimentary sentence in this book so far excepting those about one of Woodward’s crushes
Trump apparently is not pleased about presiding over a quagmire, and his solution was “just declare victory and get out,” which.

He also thought it was worth saving the money we spend in Korea even though that’s nuclear detection. Because he’s got the policy chops of a toddler.
Rob Porter Can Say “Cow” When He Sees A Cow “Trump liked to do things spur of the moment, Porter concluded, to fly by the seat of his pants. He acted like doing too much advance preparation would diminish his skills in improvising. He did not want to be derailed by forethought. As if a plan would take away his power, his sixth sense.”
The rest of this chapter should just be called Reince Gets Four Shots In And Tells Us How He Really Feels, it’s nothing but insults at Bannon and the Trumps. And Kellyanne Conway. “The president has zero psychological ability to recognize empathy or pity in any way.”
Man imagine having the job of making Trump exude anything positive but especially if your brief was “to show the president as a constructive, calming force.”

It’s positively Greek
Apparently getting Trump to give that speech everyone called unifying and Presidential was sheer hell, and then he immediately decided it was “weak.” So that’s a whole chapter about how Trump really didn’t want to say anything too mean to racists.
This paragraph cut gag was funny in a horrid way, then was boring, and it’s now getting pretty amusing again “Don’t take any questions, all the staff told him with urgency. Trump said he did not plan on taking any.<br />
<br />
At the press briefing, he took questions”
I had forgotten that Trump was so racist he made the head of every military branch have to issue statements saying that actually, America has kind of a history with Nazis
Just keep reading this until you see the levels:

“Most significant, however, were the private reactions from House Speaker Ryan and Senate majority leader McConnell. Both Republicans called some of the CEOs and privately praised them for standing up.”
That’s regarding the economic councils Trump had to shut down after all the CEOs resigned after the Charlottesville comments

But Woodward finds it significant that they called

They called privately

To say thanks for standing up publicly
Then we get the saga of Cohn trying strenuously to resign and Trump yelling at him about how that would be treason, so he stayed to make sure those tax cuts got through

What a shining example of bravery he has given us
I mean Pence did tell him he could put out a strongly-worded statement, which he did

So I guess there’s that?
In the Financial Times no less! That’s definitely where I put things I want to go to a broad audience and get a lot of traction amirite “Cohn chose to make his views known in an interview with the Financial Times. “This administration can and must do better. . . . I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain. . . . I also feel compelled to voice my distress . . . citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK.”
Rob Porter gets a grandiose write-up in which he, a Real Patriot, realizes with horror that he has actually been helping someone who doesn’t care much for anything but himself.

He realized that, finally, after Charlottesville. So he seems smart.
And here’s Steve Bannon again, telling everyone precisely how he would like to be treated, for the benefit of those weighing in on his recent publicity and engagement spree “Bannon felt that Trump should be winning the messaging war. “President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln—connects with the American people. The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more . . . I can’t get enough of it.”
Jeff Sessions, on Pompeo in what is certainly the cattiest and yet somehow least powerful backhand swipe of the book, like if he’d said “bless my heart” instead of “bless your heart”
“Buried in the 19-pg section on integrated strategy was an admission: “Stalemate likely to persist in Afghanistan” and “Taliban likely to continue to gain ground.”
In the tradition of concealing the...story in a memo, “Win is unattainable” was the conclusion signed by McMaster.”
This whole book keeps making me feel like I’ve forgotten to make some formula or some other needed baby task, though my youngest is five now

“Trump liked signing. It meant he was doing things, and he had an up-and-down penmanship that looked authoritative in black Magic Marker.”
There isn’t a good cut and paste way to illustrate, but a common theme so far has been “staff talk Trump out of giant disastrous policy be reminding him about the importance of tax reform” and that was his leash.
How do you write that people were being uncivil to Donald fucking Trump, I ask you? How do you not use a different word at least? “It was not just the distraction of a wide-ranging Mueller investigation hanging over his head, but the constant media coverage that Trump had colluded with the Russians and/or obstructed justice, a real feeding frenzy—vicious, uncivil. The result, Porter said, “In some moments it was almost incapacity of the president to be president.”
I feel like Cohn got at least part of what he deserves, karmically speaking, because whole pages are just “Cohn attempted to explain tariffs. Or trade. Or deficits.”

And then there’s: “Trump would not read, so Cohn brought charts to the Oval Office.

He had to be humiliated
Cohn, I mean. Here’s a dude he wouldn’t lend to in his previous life and he’s having to figure out how to keep the toddler from throwing the spoon again
This is just not good writing

“On Air Force One when tensions were ramping up, Trump said, in a rare moment of reflection, “This guy’s crazy. I really hope this doesn’t end up going to a bad place.”

Like what now
(Tensions with North Korea, that is)

And then the rest of the chapter is the slow political suffocation of Kelly
Next chapter is all about the tax reform bill and how Cohn said he’d been “extorted” by Lee and Rubio because they wanted to raise the child tax credit

But they passed it in the end.
Next up: Fire And Fury comes out, and Trump breaks up with Bannon for good, who of course gives a long critique of Trump’s “globalism” to Woodward, who basically just prints it wholesale.

Also, those pigs flying? I hope Bannon is right about something. “The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements of women and feminists would create an alternative to end the male-dominated patriarchy, Bannon believed.”
Now I feel dirty and I’m gonna get another drink. Feel free to chip on this bar tab at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or Venmo at linda-tirado-3, cheers!
Here’s a fun grouping of words for posterity:

“The president of the United States was practicing a scene out of Dr. Strangelove. The Internet lost its collective mind.”
Apparently Trump almost tweeted once that we were going to remove military families from Korea to annoy Kim.

How is it possible nobody has taken his phone away yet?
Chapter 37: Trump Doesn’t Understand That Whole Korea Thing Part Eleventy Billion
Chapter 38 is a few pages about what a mess Afghanistan is and how they came in with a whole reset strategy which didn’t work

Trump was not pleased
39: Lindsey Graham plays sycophant on the golf course.

LOLOLOL: “Graham felt it had been one of his best conversations with the president. He had done most of the talking.”
Also in this chapter: DACA, the wall obsession, Tillerson gets fired
Chapter 40 now! Somehow not at all unexpectedly, Donald Trump is mostly upset about the Mueller investigation because what if he can’t use future favors as leverage with the murderous regimes?
The rest of the chapter is Trump trying and failing to yell at his staff enough to get them to make everyone but especially Mueller love him, and also failing mock interviews.
41: trump’s lawyer, who is incredibly gullible, fights with Mueller abut Trump testifying. He doesn’t think there’s anybody in the White House covering anything up. He quits anyway instead of representing a known liar under oath.
And this, friends, is the last of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House “But in the man and his presidency Dowd had seen the tragic flaw. In the political back-and-forth, the evasions, the denials, the tweeting, the obscuring, crying “Fake News,” the indignation, Trump had one overriding problem that Dowd knew but could not bring himself to say to the president: “You’re a fucking liar.”
Have we learned anything? Absolutely not! Pretty much everything in this book was common knowledge, if some of it was unconfirmed. The few interesting bits came from obviously spinning sources, and somehow Bannon comes out looking like the adult in the room after it all?
However, we did at least confirm a few things:

Oh holy fuck it’s a trash fire. As big as we feared.

Also, someone needs to take away that dude’s phone.

The people in the White House are basically fine with Trump except when he causes chaos and torpedoes their pet projects.
Which is to say there’s all these advisors “just staying on for this initiative” or something similar, to assuage their guilt for working for a guy who *also* [insert latest Trumpfuckery]

And that basically explains Republicans.
OK guys, remember to tip your servers (or me!) and I hope your Saturday is fab!
Oh also, taking nominations for the next book here!
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