- President Donald Trump’s White Home has actually long been viewed as a workplace of mayhem and dysfunction, however some of the information of the president’s rage and lack of knowledge are genuinely shocking.
- The authors of “An Extremely Steady Genius” have assembled among those most meticulously-sourced accounts of the Trump administration to date.
- Insider spoke to co-authors Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, both long-time Washington Post press reporters, about their new very popular book.
- Go to Service Expert’s homepage for more stories
“ A Very Steady Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America,” one of the latest insider-based accounts of the Trump White House, debuted at the top of The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list upon its release earlier this month.
Written by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, respectively the White House bureau chief and a national investigative reporter for The Washington Post, the book is based on interviews with over 200 well-placed sources within the administration and in Trump’s inner circle.
Expert spoke with the authors about the stories they recounted in the book of Trump’s stunning lack of knowledge of world affairs, his frightening screens of rage, his ostentatious insults towards cabinet members and military generals, and his administration, which is apparently devoid of standard procedures.
This interview has been modified for length and clearness.
Expert: “An Extremely Stable Genius” has an episode where Trump meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the president tells him, “It’s not like you have actually got China on your border.” You wrote that a number of leading White House authorities were aghast at Trump’s ignorance. Why was this particular instance such a problem for them?
Leonnig: We did interviews with more than 200 former and current senior level authorities, advisors, friends, and assistants to the president. The reason they shared these stories is they feel that the president declines truths and information. It resembles he can’t be troubled with it. And his rejection of an instruction before he went to meet with Prime Minister Modi had dreadful repercussions.
Modi went from being a person who was attempting to have a genuine major settlement with Trump about partnership, about how to safeguard himself from China and Russia and Pakistan. And as an outcome of the president not knowing that India shares an extremely considerable border with China, Modi started to withdraw a little and, as told to us by assistants, saw Trump as just not severe adequate to negotiate with.
Expert: You have actually got Trump quoted in the book as saying Rudy Giuliani is “the only man in the world who’s less ready than I am … Rudy goes on TELEVISION and doesn’t understand what the f– he’s discussing.” During Trump’s success lap speech following his impeachment acquittal, a thank you to Giuliani was notably absent. What’s Trump’s relationship with Giuliani like right now?
That’s something the president truly values.
Expert: Where do you think [former national security adviser] John Bolton goes from here?
Leonnig: I pick up both from individuals close to him, and from just enjoying Bolton navigate this, is that he always was believing about how he was going to stay a part of the Republican Celebration heavens and not be an individual who was running in to testify.
Rucker: It’s impossible for us to answer that since we can’t forecast how somebody might act in a provided moment.
Insider: Another story in the book that leapt out at me was when the documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi [Nancy Pelosi’s daughter] is standing next to a thirsty and bewildered Trump in the White House, and there’s no one around to give him a bottle of water.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the more jarring examples of the desertion of normal White House procedure in this administration?
Rucker: So that scene with Alexandra Pelosi and the Aquafina bottle in her bag is funny and cute, however we also believed it was really representative of the general mayhem and dysfunction inside the White House, specifically in those early months. And the absence of preparation by the staff and by the president himself for these jobs and for the awesome obligation that includes it. The truth that there wasn’t a standard staff protocol because particular minute was illustrative of the more comprehensive pattern of the administration.
Insider: You estimated a previous Trump Organization staffer who described Trump’s anger as “scary.” You have both been covering presidents for a long time. Is Trump particularly prone to fits of anger compared to other presidents?
Leonnig: It sure feels like it after talking with people over and over once again who had similar experiences. Many of these I recounted in the book, however possibly not all of the ones that we heard. The time he was yelling at [former Homeland Security Secretary] Kirstjen Nielsen and calling her early in the early morning and late during the night after watching [Fox Business host] Lou Dobbs, then scolding her to adopt and carry out the ideas that Lou Dobbs has actually whispered to him on the phone.
Nielsen attempted to describe to the president that a few of these concepts were going to break the law or that the department was already doing them. Often he would call her back in the morning after calling her in the night, and she would say, “Mr President, I have not done what you’ve asked yet due to the fact that everybody in the office is sleeping in the stepping in hours and I can not get any response for you right now.”
But there were lots of others who were on the receiving end of the president’s barking. [Former Attorney General] Jeff Sessions being cursed at and told that it was all his fault that a special counsel had been selected. [Trump] yelling at the top of his lungs so loud that when individuals were excused from that space they could hear him through the doors screaming, and were crossing themselves about how happy they were that they were no longer there.
Fox hosts typically have more pull with the president than his own cabinet members
Expert: You mentioned Lou Dobbs. It appears that the president, specifically now 3 years into his administration, appears to be getting a great deal of his policy and workers hints from Fox hosts. Between the voices that are really in the room with him and the voices that are on TV, who do you think he’s listening to the majority of?
Rucker: He’s listening to a little bit of everything. One of the problems that a lot of sources determined to us in our reporting for “An Extremely Stable Genius” is that the president is not great at focusing on amongst his consultants.
He’ll take something that the national security consultant says and hold it up weighed [against] something that Jeanine Pirro may tell him on the phone one night. He takes what Kirstjen Nielsen, who he tasked with being in charge of his immigration policy, and sort of override that with what Lou Dobbs, the Fox character and commentator needed to state on his opinion show that night.
So the president takes advice in all locations. And Trump would see that as one of his characteristics in management as a president, that he’s looking for recommendations in various places and listening to lots of individuals. The individuals who work for him find that in fact to be a real detriment to reasoned and reasonable decision making.
Expert: A great deal of Trump’s advocates would state that the title of your book, “A Really Stable Genius,” even though it’s a direct quote of his, is East Coast elite facility snark. And that any ramification that Trump is not a genius because of his accomplishments and his pounding of the establishment would make the reporting in your book moot or prejudiced.
What do you think is the most essential reason that your book should be read by everyone, including people who would dismiss you out of hand for operating at The Washington Post and writing a book like this?
Leonnig: To begin with, we have actually gotten some very nice evaluations basically stating that all we do is what we planned to do, which is gather the truths, place them in this book and let individuals make their own minds up and make their own judgments of this administration, this president, and individuals who serve him. And even [Trump’s] own opponents, those truths about them are in here also.
We picked the title due to the fact that we wanted to hold up the president’s own self-definition, one that he’s provided 5 times now. It’s not an error that he calls himself this. We wished to hold that mirror up to him and also stress tests this definition, this name, with individuals who know him finest who had been at his shoulder for months and years serving him and are supportive of his agenda, but to see him up close every day and took us into this room.
We’re not attempting to utilize this book as a political tool to persuade anyone no matter what their celebration is. There have actually been Republicans and Democrats who have actually composed to us, routine individuals, and said that it actually moved them and it altered their impression a little bit, a solidified impression that they might have had either in support of the president or not in support of the president. There was a military dad who wrote to us applauding our reporting of that “Tank” conference and revealing some concern about whether the president is truly the best individual to lead the nation if he’s going to treat the front line of national security in this way.
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