I started this book at around 6:00 a.m. my time Friday morning, and then read about 50% Friday evening and Saturday. Life intervened, and I finished it last night. It’s probably obvious, but I’m not a Trumpette or a Trumpateer or whatever his supporters are calling themselves these days. In that sense, Wolff’s book merely corroborated what I already had concluded given my analysis of the news coming out of the White House.
I would start by saying that, overall, this book isn’t really plowing a lot of new ground. Going in, I believed that Donald Trump was ignorant, self-absorbed and incompetent. Finishing the book, my belief was strengthened. DJT is ignorant, self-absorbed and incompetent. A buffoon, a clown, a feces-flinging shitgibbon. Whatever your preferred insult might be, insert it here.
There are a few things, though, that I would point to as “new” information. The first of those comes out right at the beginning, where Wolff lays down his initial thesis: no one expected, or wanted, DJT to become president. His candidacy was nothing more than a long con - a complicated grift, a sting operation - that was designed to ultimately benefit DJT, the Trump business empire, and his “associates” in very specific ways. They saw profit in him losing - a new Trump network; coveted slots on cable news shows, name-recognition. They neither expected, nor really wanted, him to win. This explains why his transition was such a mess. There was no transition preparation done, because the transition for which they were preparing was this one: transitioning back into the private sector to continue their profitable grift as the Clinton opposition.
Why is this so important? Because it tells us the true story of the Trump presidency: he never wanted to be president. He has never, not for one second of one minute of one day, wanted to be president because he had an agenda to implement. What this means is that all of the rhetoric that talks about his incredible ability to connect with voters, his “progressive conservatism,” his desire to help the common man - it’s all bullshit. He cares about no one whose last name isn’t Trump. That’s it, that’s all it’s ever been.
He is now, as he was then, a blank page, an empty vessel, vacant and hollow. He has no animating principles, no core ideals and no executive or legislative agenda. If you want to find his agenda, you must look to the people who surround him. And this explains everything.
I’ll be back to continue my thoughts - with quotes - in a bit!