By Bob Woodward
I have read both of the latest books by Bob Woodward, Fear, and Rage. Fear came out first, and it was pre-covid. I saw the main difference between both books; in Fear, Woodward’s account of Trump’s behavior and his management style was told to him by his staff and advisors. The book Rage showed more of his reactionary side to something he could not control and tried to force the issue with the goal solely on the economy and the election.
In the second book, Rage, The range of topics discussed was similar, but Trump personally responsed with some background from a few others in this account. Rage had a more covid slant, but Woodward did delve into other areas of the Trump presidency and how Trump reacted. What I did not expect to see, Senator Graham was a voice of reason for Trump. A type of guidance to help him with the unrest in the country and a way to position him better in the public eye for the election.
To me, the big take away here is Trump’s personality and management style. There is no doubt he has had some positive ideas with the stock market, The economy was doing well but not the best in our history, and he has some good instincts. However, on the flip side, he can be impatient and is reactionary to situations. He does not take criticism well, nor does he rely on his advisors. He alone thinks he can solve all problems. Everything good, he seems to undo with something much worse.
Many instances throughout the book, specifically on covid, he looks for affirmation, “I did a good job” if “I did not do this, it would be worse” He did block all travel into the country, and to his credit, it was a great move. He did issue the quarantine as suggested, but he quickly abandoned both when the economy began to falter, and thus both became worse. He did flat out lie about the seriousness and state it was to avoid panic is almost absurd. Every major conflict this country has faced, including going into WWII or the response to 911, presidents were profound and honest. The presidents did not hold back, and nobody panicked. This type of reaction has made it worse, including his infection. He does not seem to understand our standing in the world; all eyes are on the US and how we react.
Trump sees the world through his perception, and he tends to gravitate toward questionable world leaders because they seem to compliment him, something he needs. Trump revealed letters he shared with the North Korean leader, both praising each other how he relates to Putin of Russia or Xi of China but seems outwardly hostile with our allies when they disagree with him. I’m still unsure why Trump would reveal this information to an author knowingly that it would be in the book.
In summary, the books reveal a man that projects himself as overly confident with an attitude that he alone knows the answers, and he alone can solve the problems. These are not the words of my interpretation of the book or representations of the author. They are the words of the President.
You do not have to read both books to get a clear picture of the President. If you like a book written more in a conversational mode, then go wth Rage; you will come away with the same idea regardless. The sad part is Trump’s personality and management style, the way he treats people that is the problem, possibly to the point of having an actual great presidency. We live in a global world, it is not something one man has all the answers to, and it is most certainly not the place where you want to alienate yourself and be surrounded by yes men. In three weeks, we will know for sure when the grade comes out from the voter.