The White House is even more screwed up than you can imagine

Bob Woodward’s new book on Trump, shown at bottom (click on screenshot to go to Amazon site) paints a picture of a White House even more dysfunctional and bizarre that our most rabid Trump-haters could imagine. First read the CNN article below, and then Woodward’s book, which is based on extensive research and lots of first-hand interviews with Those Who Know. Nobody does investigative reporting like Woodward.

An excerpt from the CNN precis:

Woodward offers a devastating portrait of a dysfunctional Trump White House, detailing how senior aides — both current and former Trump administration officials — grew exasperated with the President and increasingly worried about his erratic behavior, ignorance and penchant for lying.

Chief of staff John Kelly describes Trump as an “idiot” and “unhinged,” Woodward reports. Defense Secretary James Mattis describes Trump as having the understanding of “a fifth or sixth grader.” And Trump’s former personal lawyer John Dowd describes the President as “a fucking liar,” telling Trump he would end up in an “orange jump suit” if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller.

“He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown,” Kelly is quoted as saying at a staff meeting in his office. “I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

Woodward’s book comes out in one week, but it’s already #5 on Amazon:



  1. GBJames
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    And, related… The documentary Active Measures just came out. It is well worth seeing, although you won’t sleep any better.

  2. Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Trump is not just an existential threat to democracy he is a threat to the stability of the world as we know it. We are quickly reverting back to tribalism, and war lords. Only this time with much better weapons. To fascism.

    What really and truly amazes me is how fast things have fallen apart. It is clear that the whole infrastructure that supports Trump was right there all the time just waiting for an opportunity to break through and say what they were really thinking.

    • Laurance
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Trump would not be president – shucks, he would not have been nominated – if he weren’t saying and doing things that were already there, ready to go.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        There’s always been a substrate of far-right nativism, isolationism, bigotry, and paranoia in the American body politic. It generally lies dormant, but tends to surface every few decades. This is the first time in our Republic’s history it has ever achieved the pinnacle of political power.

        • mikeyc
          Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          It had help this time around.

      • mikeyc
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        That’s right. He’s a symptom, not a cause.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted September 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Yes, a symptom with a 6th grade bully understanding of the world.

          This may not even be the worst show of how US is no longer a democracy. This was on the news in Sweden:

          “Brian Klaas

          No exaggeration: if any other elected leader in a Western democracy tried to instruct their top law enforcement official to shield their political allies from prosecution for political reasons like this, they would be forced to resign within hours. This is insane.

          Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”

          [“Political scientist @UCL; DPhil from Oxford. Author: “How to Rig an Election” & “The Despot’s Apprentice.” Washington Post columnist.”]

          I dunno about Klaas’ claim, but if it is even partly correct … when will US start to try to preserve its democracy? Is it too late?

          Of course, forcing Trump to resign would give an even worse person the keys to the White House. 😦

          • veroxitatis
            Posted September 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            It’s all over the news. It is appalling that Trump and so many of his fellow Americans have absolutely no understanding of the principles of the Rule of Law; a concept which grew in Britain from out of the Parliamentary struggles of the 17th century. A year or so ago I would have believed that Trump was simply riding roughshod over the principle, but now I fully realise that in fact,such a principle is entirely alien to him.

            • Posted September 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

              Although Trump is no brainiac, his flouting of the rule of law is not due to ignorance but deliberate. This is why he mostly just tweets about what his AG ought to do rather than simply ordering him to do it silently. Even if ignorance comes into play, does a US President have the right to play stupid when he has so many advisers around him? The MSM and the public help Trump out by portraying acts like these as coming from ignorance. “Maybe he hasn’t read the Constitution.” should not be allowed as an excuse.

        • Historian
          Posted September 4, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Trump is the culmination of decades of work by the Republican establishment to add to their coalition the white working class and the religious right. In a sense, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but in the process they have created a monster (Trump) that they cannot control. They never expected to become toadies and sycophants to retain political power. Per the FiveThirtyEight site, Trump’s popularity has dropped about 2 points to 40.2%, the first change in many months. Whether this will result in a trend or is just a blip remains to be seen.

          • Mark R.
            Posted September 4, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Not only have they created Frankentrump, they also allowed (and continue to allow) a foreign adversary to run rough-shod over our election processes. What is most telling is the Trumpsters (both bureaucrats and citizens) don’t give a shit.

            They never expected to become toadies and sycophants to retain political power.

            Perhaps they never expected to, but obviously they have no problem with adopting the “toadies and sycophants” method. Unexpected perhaps, but these folk are easily manipulated and assimilated.

            The current Republican regime is an affront to democracy…citizens who can’t see this scare me. Many of these citizens are my kin. “Gotta get outta this place” (many citations needed). VOTE people, please vote against this tyranny. (I know, preaching to the Ceiling Cat choir here.)

          • darrelle
            Posted September 5, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            “In a sense, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but in the process they have created a monster (Trump) that they cannot control.

            Yes. And though it might not need to be pointed out, along the way the Republican establishment caused some serious damages to the structure of our government and established precedents for acceptable political behavior that could be more damaging than anything else they’ve accomplished. At the levels of high government laws have much less impact than the general zeitgeist of what is acceptable behavior.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Let’s get a copy of this book to each of the republicans in congress. I am assuming they can read. Can you spell impeachment?

    • Harrison
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      They know as well as anyone else how stupid and dangerous Trump is, but they’re already in too deep. As soon as Trump’s gone the party’s over. The Republican Party that is.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, Trump, I think, will tear the GOP apart by the time he’s through. Before the Party’s over, I expect to see a civil war of sorts in the Republican camp, between those who wish to survive for life-after-Trump (but who’ve thus far been kept in check by their paralyzing fear of his white-nationalist base) and the hardcore, dead-end deplorables — the ones who wouldn’t abandon Trump if he were caught handing off the nuclear football to Vladimir Putin in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

        • Taz
          Posted September 4, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          I think a lot of them are waiting to see how the midterms go. I’m hoping for a Democratic landslide to pry support from Trump.

  4. Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    That CNN article is amazing. One of the things that I find quite astounding is that so many people who are (or were) ostensibly on the Trump team were prepared to throw him under the bus in this way. I think that, by itself, speaks volumes.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 1:27 am | Permalink

      I’m not entirely surprised. Many, many whistleblowers and so-called traitors are motivated by disgust at the dirty dealing, incompetence and mendacity of their own organisation. They get a close-up view of this. The opposition might be no better but of course their defects are not so visible.

      It appears that the House of Trump is unusually and spectacularly rotten, and it comes from the top – no wonder that it has more than its share of disenchanted ex-staffers who feel no particular loyalty to their ex-boss.


    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      I’m not surprised. They don’t have to *be* loyal, they just have to appear to be to stay employed.

  5. W.Benson
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I was about to give up hope. Perhaps the impeachment proceedings, or at least congressional maneuvers, can be stretched out until mid-2019 so that Pence is unable to rule us. I still believe Hillary, a rational evil person, would have been worse, putting aside the Supreme Court.

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like Hillary but “evil”? Where do you get that? (She’s been investigated extensively and no crimes.)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Apparently you do not even watch the news. Do you keep up with Trump’s actions concerning Putin? Do you hear him running down the justice dept., the CIA, the FBI. Can you hear? Have your read Thomas Freeman? Maybe House of Trump, House of Putin. Maybe you are simply a Trump.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      You do know that Russians infiltrated the online Bernie Sanders camp, don’t you? How else could people believe that a rational, experienced, intelligent person would be “worse” than a toddler?

  6. yazikus
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t even know why any of us are here.

    Perhaps some deep reflection is in order.

    • Posted September 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Frankly, we should all be glad these slightly more sane guys have stayed on. Imagine where we would be without anybody there to rein him in.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted September 5, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Yes, they are true patriots.

  7. ian Clark
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    All of these “revelations” have been clear to the casual observer for years. No surprises.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. Anyone surprised by this is either simply ignorant or else they should seriously question their own judgement.

      I doubt there will be many that are surprised. We can hope, but I think it more likely that a large percentage of people are not surprised and that another large percentage just won’t believe any of it. Fake News, don’t you know? Or, rather, they won’t believe that Trump is the problem. They’ll rationalize it as the swamp-dwellers that Trump swore to get rid of trying to pull him down. Or something like that.

    • Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      The casual observer might have [i]believed[/i] all these things to be true, but that’s different to having it confirmed by people who were there.

  8. Eli Siegel
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Read The Washington Post article about Woodward’s book.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Bob Woodward tends to be a wooden prose stylist (though he’s not as bad lately as when he got started), and he’s never evinced much of a sense of humor. But there’s no gainsaying he’s a great investigative reporter, with sources all around the beltway and out the wazoo. He’s got a keen eye for seeing through bullshit and, by most accounts, almost impossible to spin.

    All of which is to say: he’s Trump’s nightmare.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      There was a 10 minute phone call between Trump and Woodward on one internet news report I listened to earlier. Woodward was informing him of the book and how many times he tried to get an interview with him. Trump just kept lying and lying, telling Woodward he did not get any of the messages, nobody told him. Even after Woodward listed some of the people he called attempting to get this interview he just kept lying. The guy is one sick human being just going on about how great America is doing with him in charge. If Woodward had gotten an interview it would have been nothing but crazy time.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Have you seen him speak? He’s wooden in person too.

  10. Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m really looking forward to Woodward’s book coming out. I don’t think I will read it myself though. I am sure we’ll hear all the juicy parts on the news and I don’t need convincing that Trump is easily the worst president ever, if not the worst possible. I hope this book makes Trump’s head explode. Looks like it will make quite a dent.

    I’m especially looking forward to Woodward’s coverage of the mock Mueller interview of Trump. That’s bound to be a scary thing.

  11. John Nunes
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    My concern from the beginning of him getting inaugurated is that a guy with a long reputation of being a capricious thug has access to the nuclear launch codes.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Bingo. And it’s not just “access”; it’s sole, unreviewable discretion to launch nuclear weapons. And if we’ve seen anything from Trump, it’s that he loves the exercise of unilateral power — pardons, executive orders, withdrawal from non-treaty international agreements.

      His possible use of nuclear weapons has been my fear since it became apparent Trump would win the Republican nomination. Now, we could wind up in a doomsday scenario. As Trump’s facade crumbles, I fear there’s nothing the man won’t do to keep from looking like a loser. He has no bottom. He’s undoubtedly a narcissist; he may be a sociopath.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 5, 2018 at 1:36 am | Permalink

        There is a long and honourable history of military commanders who have failed to follow orders they knew were unconscionable. And the Nuremberg trials established that ‘following orders’ is not a defence to war crimes.

        I fervently hope that any commander receiving an order from Trump to launch a nuclear missile would reflect on that.


        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 5, 2018 at 5:04 am | Permalink

          I hope so, too, but keep in mind what a thin reed that is to hang our hopes on. If there’s anything that’s sacrosanct in the US military, it’s the chain of command. Officers who’ve risen through the ranks to wear stars on their shoulders would rather gnaw off a leg than to disobey a direct order from the commander-in-chief.

          Plus, keep in mind that what we’d be hoping for is essentially a military coup d’état. I’m not sure how a democracy survives something like that.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 5, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Well, to put it bluntly, I’d sooner see the collapse of the US into chaos (and the inevitable collateral damage on everyone else) than the start of a nuclear war. (Needless to say I’d infinitely rather see neither).

            And given my own anti-authoritarian predilections and consequent distrust of the military I’m aware how flimsy and downright incongruous that sentiment of mine is. I’m expressing more faith in your military than in your elected government. Bizarre.


      • John Nunes
        Posted September 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

  12. darrelle
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    So, here it is. The facts about the daily activities of the Trump administration. Well supported with various evidences. But the truth doesn’t seem to matter these days. I hope it makes a difference, but I sure as hell am not holding my breath.

    Reading the article just brought home all over again just how craven Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are. And pretty much the entire Republican leadership and their moneyed supporters of course, but these two in particular. These despicable human beings know much more directly, in much more detail than we do how fucked up the Trump administration is. They’ve had the power to do something about and they have chosen not to. Not only that, but have actively aided in the destruction for their and their master’s own selfish gain. And they know all this. They know Trump is a worm and that he is wreaking havoc. They are contenders for worst persons in the country.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I sure can’t disagree with you.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I have to 2nd that.

    • Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Power at any cost. The GOP has no right to speak of “values” ever again.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Look what the Party of personal responsibility and family values hath wrought!

  13. Mark
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    “The White House is even more screwed up than you can imagine” – and so are the citizens who still support him.

  14. Steve Pollard
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Revelatory and appalling. Dear me.

    A couple of fairly obvious predictions:

    1. Trump will denounce Woodward as a failed Democrat conspirator (or similar), and his book as “fake news”.

    2. The revelations will not have the slightest effect on – or even be noticed by – the 30% of the US population that is Trump’s bedrock.

    And if anything happens to Trump, the outcome is Pence. The world doesn’t deserve this. I don’t even think the US does.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      “the outcome is Pence”

      I’m waiting for the Manafort-Pence connection to be clarified. I would put a wager on some Russian involvement in how Trump decided against Cristy in favor of Pence.

      • mikeyc
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Hadn’t thought of that. Pence could be vulnerable?

      • yazikus
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        It will come out. Pence was handpicked by Manafort. One look at that Pence, Hilarion & Graham (Franklin, the odious)photo (Pence & Hilarion shaking hands while Graham leers on from the middle) will make some connections clear.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Pence has got some ‘splainin’ to do over his lies about Mike Flynn and the firing of James Comey, too. We need to find out what the Veep knew, and when he forgot it. (Sure would be nice if Pence disappeared to cop a nolo plea to a tax beef in Baltimore, like his predecessor Spiro Agnew.)

        But the Republicans will never abandon Mike Pence. They know, if the Dems take the House in the midterms, Pence could be all the stands in the way of a President Nancy Pelosi (given that the Speaker is third in the line of succession to the presidency.)

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Woodward is (or at least was) a registered Republican. That was a source of his entrée to the Nixon crowd during the Watergate days.

    • Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Your assessment sounds right to me. However, Woodward’s book may well cause some clashes within the White House staff and Trump’s cabinet that may lead to departures. Each departure is a newsworthy event and the departee may well end up talking to Mueller. When former insiders come out against Trump, it can’t be so easily dismissed by his base as an opposition ploy. While Woodward’s book may not break Trump’s back, it all counts.

      • Harrison
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        It’s actually very easy for his base to dismiss anything. People who leave the Trump admin are obviously malicious Deep State operatives. And since they know Trump only hires the Best People, they also believe him when he says that actually those insiders really weren’t all that involved at all to begin with and anyway he didn’t pick them, it was someone else’s fault. Probably Crooked Hillary.

  15. Randy Bessinger
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Well, Bannon, Fox News, Dnesh D’Sousa, Limbaugh, and others are working hard to keep Trump in office for 6 more years. Don’t forget about them.

  16. Bob
    Posted September 5, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Another book for the upcoming Trump Presidental Library.

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