Cover image for Fear : Trump in the White House
Title:
Fear : Trump in the White House
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9781432859688
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Large print ed.
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675 pages (large print), 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm.
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Summary:
With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump's White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president's first years in office.
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Summary

Summary

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside Donald Trump's White House and how the president makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, contemporaneous meeting notes, files, documents and personal diaries, FEAR brings to light the explosive debates that drive decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.


Author Notes

Bob Woodward is the author or co-author of seven #1 national bestsellers, including "All the President's Men," "The Brethren," & "The Agenda." He is Assistant Managing Editor of "The Washington Post" & lives in Washington, D.C.

(Publisher Provided) Journalist and author Bob Woodward was born in Geneva, Illinois on March 26, 1943. He majored in history and English literature at Yale University on a Naval ROTC scholarship. After graduating in 1965, he spent four years in the United States Navy. At the end of his military service, he was accepted into Harvard Law School, but decided to become a journalist.

Woodward and Carl Bernstein, both reporters for The Washington Post, uncovered the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. They wrote two books together All the President's Men about their account of the investigation and The Final Days about the collapse of the Nixon administration. He also has written numerous nonfiction books including three on the presidency of George W. Bush.

He has twice contributed to collective journalistic efforts that earned The Washington Post and its staff a Pulitzer Prize. He also was awarded the 2003 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He is currently the assistant managing editor at The Washington Post and is responsible for the paper's special investigative projects.

Woodward's title's,The Last of the President's Men and Fear, made the New York Times bestseller list.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a compulsively readable narrative "drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses," Washington Post associate editor Woodward contends that members of the Trump administration took steps to "intentionally block some of what they believed were the president's most dangerous impulses." Woodward deems those actions "no less than an administrative coup d'etat." In the most dramatic example, Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic advisor, removed a draft letter from the Oval Office that terminated a free trade agreement with South Korea, which constituted, in Cohn's view, "a potential trigger to a national security catastrophe." As Cohn had hoped, Trump "never noticed the missing letter." Woodward also offers other sensational anecdotes unrelated to his administrative coup theme-such as an argument between chief of staff John Kelly and the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union that was so heated that Trump later said he thought the two were going to get into a fistfight-as well as the occasional positive comment, such as those about the First Couple's affection for each other, and Trump's newspaper-reading habits. He ends with another sensational claim: that John Dowd, Trump's lawyer for the special counsel Russia investigation, told Trump that he would end up behind bars if he agreed to be interviewed by the special counsel, and considered Trump "a fucking liar." Woodward's reporting, with its heavy reliance on "multiple deep background interviews with firsthand sources" who remain anonymous, will be problematic for some, especially those not already inclined to believe the worst about the president. But readers who trust the reporting will find this to be both entertaining and disturbing reading. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

A dish-filled tiptoe through the current White House in the company of an all-knowing tour guide, legendary Washington Post investigative reporter and definitive insider Woodward (The Last of the President's Men, 2015, etc.)."He's always looking for adult supervision." So says big-money donor Rebekah Mercer to alt-right mastermind Steve Bannon of Donald Trump early on in Woodward's book, setting a theme that will be sounded throughout the narrative. By the author's account, Trump, sensitive and insensitive, out of his element and constantly enraged, cannot be trusted to act on his own instincts while anywhere near the Oval Office. Indeed, the earliest and instantly newsworthy moment of the book comes when economic adviser Gary Cohn spirits away a letter from Trump's desk that would have broken the U.S. alliance with South Korea. Trump demanded the letter but then, it seems, forgot about it in its absence. "It was no less than an administrative coup d'tat," writes Woodward, "an undermining of the will of the president of the United States and its constitutional authority." It's not the sole instance, either, as the author steadily recounts. Drawing on deep background, meaning that sources cannot be identifiedthe reasons are immediately evidentWoodward ticks down a long list of insiders and their various ways of adapting to the mercurial president, sometimes successfully but more often not. One figure who can be seen constantly walking that line is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, whom former staffer Reince Priebus sold on Trump by saying, "you're a lot of fun. He needs fun people around him." Trump emerges as anything but funbut also rather easily managed by those around him, so long as he is able to sign documents ("Trump liked signing. It meant he was doing things, and he had an up-and-down penmanship that looked authoritative in black Magic Marker") and otherwise look presidential.Woodward's book will shock only those who haven't been paying attention. For those who have, it reinforces a strongly emerging narrative that there's a serious need for grown-ups on Pennsylvania Avenuegrown-ups who have read the Constitution. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Michael Wolff told us about it, Omarosa flaunted it, and now veteran White House watcher Woodward pounds it home. The wheels have come off the White House bus. Of course, anyone with access to a TV set or a news feed is already aware of the book's juiciest bits: General John Kelly calling President Trump an idiot, or Trump lawyer John Dowd telling his client that a sit-down with Robert Mueller would lead to an orange jumpsuit. It requires the book as a whole, however, to really convey what a dysfunctional environment the Trump landscape has become. Woodward's writing, as in previous books, leans toward the leaden. The way he uses/ignores quotation marks and his tendency to pop into the narrative are particularly annoying. Yet, when he describes the key players together in a room in full cry, fighting, for example, about the response to Charlottesville, the book is riveting. Trump's temper, his obsession with image, his incapacity to do his job or to even understand some of the most basic responsibilities of the presidency these are the things that take readers, along with many of the president's staffers, through the looking glass darkly. But what is equally disconcerting, displayed here again and again, is Trump's inability to take advice, along with his unwavering faith in his "gut." Still, at times, Woodward is able to make Trump relatable as an Everyman infuriated by government; after all, who hasn't wondered about the point of staying in Afghanistan after 17 years? Although there's no sourcing, it's not difficult to figure out who spoke to Woodward. The perspectives of Dowd and economic advisor Gary Cohn are apparent, and Steve Bannon's presence is obvious whenever an interviewee describes something brilliant being said or done by . . . Steve Bannon. The title of the book comes from an interview in which the president states that true power comes through fear. Well, this look inside the Trump White House is pretty scary.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist


Excerpts

Excerpts

Fear CHAPTER 1 In August 2010, six years before taking over Donald Trump's winning presidential campaign, Steve Bannon, then 57 and a producer of right-wing political films, answered his phone. "What are you doing tomorrow?" asked David Bossie, a longtime House Republican investigator and conservative activist who had chased Bill and Hillary Clinton scandals for almost two decades. "Dude," Bannon replied, "I'm cutting these fucking films I'm making for you." The 2010 midterm congressional elections were coming up. It was the height of the Tea Party movement and Republicans were showing momentum. "Dave, we're literally dropping two more films. I'm editing. I'm working 20 hours a day" at Citizens United, the conservative political action committee Bossie headed, to churn out his anti-Clinton films. "Can you come with me up to New York?" "For what?" "To see Donald Trump," Bossie said. "What about?" "He's thinking of running for president," Bossie said. "Of what country?" Bannon asked. No, seriously, Bossie insisted. He had been meeting and working with Trump for months. Trump had asked for a meeting. "I don't have time to jerk off, dude," Bannon said. "Donald Trump's never running for president. Forget it. Against Obama? Forget it. I don't have time for fucking nonsense." "Don't you want to meet him?" "No, I have no interest in meeting him." Trump had once given Bannon a 30-minute interview for his Sunday-afternoon radio show, called The Victory Sessions, which Bannon had run out of Los Angeles and billed as "the thinking man's radio show." "This guy's not serious," Bannon said. "I think he is serious," Bossie said. Trump was a TV celebrity and had a famous show, The Apprentice, that was number one on NBC some weeks. "There's no downside for us to go and meet with him." Bannon finally agreed to go to New York City to Trump Tower. They rode up to the 26th floor conference room. Trump greeted them warmly, and Bossie said he had a detailed presentation. It was a tutorial. The first part, he said, lays out how to run in a Republican primary and win. The second part explains how to run for president of the United States against Barack Obama. He described standard polling strategies and discussed process and issues. Bossie was a traditional, limited-government conservative and had been caught by surprise by the Tea Party movement. It was an important moment in American politics, Bossie said, and Tea Party populism was sweeping the country. The little guy was getting his voice. Populism was a grassroots movement to disrupt the political status quo in favor of everyday people. "I'm a business guy," Trump reminded them. "I'm not a professional ladder-climber in politics." "If you're going to run for president," Bossie said, "you have to know lots of little things and lots of big things." The little things were filing deadlines, the state rules for primaries--minutiae. "You have to know the policy side, and how to win delegates." But first, he said, "you need to understand the conservative movement." Trump nodded. "You've got some problems on issues," Bossie said. "I don't have any problems on issues," Trump said. "What are you talking about?" "First off, there's never been a guy to win a Republican primary that's not pro-life," Bossie said. "And unfortunately, you're very pro-choice." "What does that mean?" "You have a record of giving to the abortion guys, the pro-choice candidates. You've made statements. You've got to be pro-life, against abortion." "I'm against abortion," Trump said. "I'm pro-life." "Well, you've got a track record." "That can be fixed," Trump said. "You just tell me how to fix that. I'm--what do you call it? Pro-life. I'm pro-life, I'm telling you." Bannon was impressed with the showmanship, and increasingly so as Trump talked. Trump was engaged and quick. He was in great physical shape. His presence was bigger than the man, and took over the room, a command presence. He had something. He was also like a guy in a bar talking to the TV. Street-smart, from Queens. In Bannon's evaluation, Trump was Archie Bunker, but a really focused Archie Bunker. "The second big thing," Bossie said, "is your voting record." "What do you mean, my voting record?" "About how often you vote." "What are you talking about?" "Well," Bossie said, "this is a Republican primary." "I vote every time," Trump said confidently. "I've voted every time since I was 18, 20 years old." "That's actually not correct. You know there's a public record of your vote." Bossie, the congressional investigator, had a stack of records. "They don't know how I vote." "No, no, no, not how you vote. How often you vote." Bannon realized that Trump did not know the most rudimentary business of politics. "I voted every time," Trump insisted. "Actually you've never voted in a primary except once in your entire life," Bossie said, citing the record. "That's a fucking lie," Trump said. "That's a total lie. Every time I get to vote, I voted." "You only voted in one primary," Bossie said. "It was like in 1988 or something, in the Republican primary." "You're right," Trump said, pivoting 180 degrees, not missing a beat. "That was for Rudy." Giuliani ran for mayor in a primary in 1989. "Is that in there?" "Yes." "I'll get over that," Trump said. "Maybe none of these things matter," Bossie said, "but maybe they do. If you're going to move forward, you have to be methodical." Bannon was up next. He turned to what was driving the Tea Party, which didn't like the elites. Populism was for the common man, knowing the system is rigged. It was against crony capitalism and insider deals which were bleeding the workers. "I love that. That's what I am," Trump said, "a popularist." He mangled the word. "No, no," Bannon said. "It's populist." "Yeah, yeah," Trump insisted. "A popularist." Bannon gave up. At first he thought Trump did not understand the word. But perhaps Trump meant it in his own way--being popular with the people. Bannon knew popularist was an earlier British form of the word "populist" for the nonintellectual general public. An hour into the meeting, Bossie said, "We have another big issue." "What's that?" Trump asked, seeming a little more wary. "Well," he said, "80 percent of the donations that you've given have been to Democrats." To Bossie that was Trump's biggest political liability, though he didn't say so. "That's bullshit!" "There's public records," Bossie said. "There's records of that!" Trump said in utter astonishment. "Every donation you've ever given." Public disclosure of all political giving was standard. "I'm always even," Trump said. He divided his donations to candidates from both parties, he said. "You actually give quite a bit. But it's 80 percent Democratic. Chicago, Atlantic City . . ." "I've got to do that," Trump said. "All these fucking Democrats run all the cities. You've got to build hotels. You've got to grease them. Those are people who came to me." "Listen," Bannon said, "here's what Dave's trying to say. Running as a Tea Party guy, the problem is that's what they are complaining about. That it's guys like you that have inside deals." "I'll get over that," Trump said. "It's all rigged. It's a rigged system. These guys have been shaking me down for years. I don't want to give. They all walk in. If you don't write a check . . ." There was a pol in Queens, Trump said, "an old guy with a baseball bat. You go in there and you've got to give him something--normally in cash. If you don't give him anything, nothing gets done. Nothing gets built. But if you take it in there and you leave him an envelope, it happens. That's just the way it is. But I can fix that." Bossie said he had a roadmap. "It's the conservative movement. Tea Party comes and goes. Populism comes and goes. The conservative movement has been a bedrock since Goldwater." Second, he said, I would recommend you run as if you are running for governor in three states--Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. They were the first three caucus or primary states. "Run and sound local, like you want to be their governor." A lot of candidates made the huge mistake of trying to run in 27 states. "Run three governor's races, and you'll have a really good shot. Focus on three. Do well in three. And the others will come." "I can be the nominee," Trump said. "I can beat these guys. I don't care who they are. I got this. I can take care of these other things." Each position could be revisited, renegotiated. "I'm pro-life," Trump said. "I'm going to start." "Here's what you're going to need to do," Bossie said. "You're going to need to write between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of individual checks to congressmen and senators. They'll all come up here. Look them in the eye, shake their hand. You're going to give them a check. Because we need some markers. You've got to do one-on-ones so these guys know. Because later on, that'll be at least an entry point that you're building relationships." Bossie continued, "Saying, this check is for you. For $2,400"--the maximum amount. "It's got to be individual checks, hard money, to their campaign so they know it's coming from you personally. Republicans now know that you're going to be serious about this." All the money, Bossie said, was central to the art of presidential politics. "Later that's going to pay huge dividends." Give to Republican candidates in a handful of battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. In addition, Bossie said, "You're going to have to do a policy book. You ought to do a book about what you think about America and these policies." Bannon gave an extended brief on China and its successful efforts to take jobs and money from the United States. He was obsessed with the threat. "What do you think?" Bossie later asked Bannon. "I'm pretty impressed with the guy," Bannon said. As for running for president, "Zero chance. First off, those two action items. The fucker will not write one check. He's not a guy who writes checks. He signs the back of checks" when they come in as payments to him. "It was good you said that because he'll never write a check." "What about the policy book?" "He'll never do a policy book. Give me a fucking break. First off, nobody will buy it. It was a waste of time except for the fact that it was insanely entertaining." Bossie said he was trying to prepare Trump if he ever did decide to run. Trump had a unique asset: He was totally removed from the political process. As they walked on, Bossie found himself going through a mental exercise, one that six years later most Americans would go through. He'll never run. He'll never file. He'll never announce. He'll never file his financial disclosure statement. Right? He'll never do any of those things. He'll never win. "You think he's going to run?" Bossie finally asked Bannon. "Not a chance. Zero chance," Bannon repeated. "Less than zero. Look at the fucking life he's got, dude. Come on. He's not going to do this. Get his face ripped off." Excerpted from Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.