Last updated on September 13, 2020
Trump’s 18 interviews with Bob Woodward demonstrate the usual charm offensive that failed to work.
To Trump, foreign policy is like selling white elephant properties, especially when he’s getting paid at inflated prices that could be bribes or money laundering. And then there’s the bragging about secret nuclear weapons which really aren’t that secret (lower-yield 8 kiloton version of W-76 warhead).
OTOH Kushner thinks it’s like Alice in Wonderland and he might be right, since Bill Barr does resemble a wide range of related illustrations. Slender Man may have never owned a Cheshire cat.
At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.
“Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” Woodward writes. “There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.”
Foreign affairs experts say Trump gave up much — including by postponing and then scaling back the U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea that had long angered North Korea, as well as by granting Kim the international stature and legitimacy the North Korean regime has long craved.Trump told Woodward that he evaluates Kim and his nuclear arsenal like a real estate target: “It’s really like, you know, somebody that’s in love with a house and they just can’t sell it.” […]In the midst of reflecting upon how close the United States had come in 2017 to war with North Korea, Trump revealed: “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There’s nobody — what we have is incredible.”Woodward writes that anonymous people later confirmed that the U.S. military had a secret new weapons system, but they would not provide details, and that the people were surprised Trump had disclosed it. […]
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is quoted by Woodward as saying, “The most dangerous people around the president are overconfident idiots,” which Woodward interprets as a reference to Mattis, Tillerson and former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn.Kushner was a frequent target of ire among Trump’s Cabinet members, who saw him as untrustworthy and weak in dealing with heads of states. Tillerson found Kushner’s warm dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “nauseating to watch. It was stomach churning,” according to Woodward.
Kushner is quoted extensively in the book ruminating about his father-in-law and presidential power. Woodward writes that Kushner advised people that one of the most important guiding texts to understand the Trump presidency was “Alice in Wonderland,” a novel about a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole. He singled out the Cheshire cat, whose strategy was endurance and persistence, not direction.
— Erik Hall (@HallErik) September 10, 2020
— Sam Wang (@SamWangPhD) September 10, 2020
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