“Give me their names,” he said, his eyes narrowing. “I want these people out of here. I’m going to take care of this. We’re going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders.”
Only in retrospect did I see how remarkable this was. I was sitting there with the President of the United States basically compiling an enemies list — but these enemies were within his own administration. If it had been a horror movie, this would have been the moment when everyone suddenly realizes the call is coming from inside the house.
The President proceeded to name White House staffer after White House staffer. Almost no one was deemed beyond reproach—not his chief of staff, not senior aides, almost no one other than those with whom he shared a last name. He wanted me to help him judge their loyalty. How, I wondered, had it come to this?
“A revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia.”
— Former Gov. Chris Christie, writing about the Trump White House in Let Me Finish.
“Chris Christie, who was ousted as chairman of Donald Trump’s White House transition team in 2016, has written a blistering attack on Jared Kushner, whom he accuses of having carried out a political ‘hit job’ on him as an act of revenge for prosecuting his father, Charles Kushner, a decade ago,” the Guardian reports.
“In his soon to be published book, Let Me Finish, Christie unleashes both barrels on Trump’s son-in-law… Christie blames this key player in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016.”
As Steve Bannon confessed to Christie: “The kid’s been taking an ax to your head with the boss ever since I got here.”
“Even for a White House that has generated an extraordinary cornucopia of hypercritical kiss-and-tell books, Christie’s is exceptional for its excoriating description of events at which he was present… It is also exceptional as a chronicle of the score-settling and animosity that drove key decision-making in Trump’s nascent presidency.”
Out next week: Camelot’s End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party by Jon Ward.
Los Angeles Times: “The book, timed for release as rival Democrats are launching their campaigns, aims to introduce Harris as uniquely positioned to fight for civil and economic rights: as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who rose to the top of their fields; as a prosecutor who forced law enforcement agencies resistant to change to confront racial bias; and as a political crusader who defied pressure from colleagues and forced more money out of the nation’s most powerful banks to compensate homeowners in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis.”
NPR: “So is it a great book? No. No, it is not. But that’s not a particularly interesting question, as campaign books are rarely great reads. The question is whether it’s an effective book. On that count, Harris is more successful.”
“President Trump is curious — and White House aides, alumni and reporters are anxious — ahead of the Jan. 29 publication of the tightly embargoed Team of Vipers, a delicious, unsparing memoir by former Trump aide Cliff Sims,” Axios reports.
“ABC News has won a fiercely competitive effort to score the first broadcast interview with Sims, whose book deal was seven figures.”
Former House Speaker John Boehner “is at work on a memoir about his time in Washington, which stretched nearly two and a half decades, from 1991 to 2015. Then he was chased out of office by the right flank of his party,” Politico reports.
“The tentative title, Notes From a Smoke-Filled Room, suggests that Boehner intends to portray himself as an anachronism, a creature from a bygone era when bipartisan deals were negotiated by party leaders behind closed doors rather than in front of the cameras and on Twitter — and when a politician’s habit for enjoying one too many glasses of expensive Merlot was indulged not excoriated.”
“Robert Caro’s next book isn’t his fifth and final volume on Lyndon Johnson or like anything he has done before. Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, to be published in April, combines personal reflections and professional guidance as Caro looks back on his singular history as a writer and reporter,” the AP reports.
“Caro does have disappointing news for those waiting for the next Johnson book: The author remains ‘several years’ from completion. The fourth Johnson biography, The Passage of Power, came out in 2012, and ended in the initial months of Johnson’s presidency, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The fifth book is expected to cover the rest of his time in the White House, which he left in 1969, and continue to his death four years later.”
If you want to know more about our 41st president, you should read What it Takes: The Way of the White House by Richard Ben Cramer.
It’s a story of the 1988 presidential campaign and also one of the best political books ever written.
Coming early next year: Dog Whistle Politics: Strategic Racism, Fake Populism, and the Dividing of America by Ian Haney López.
“How politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests.”
“I think it makes my base stronger. I would have never said this to you. But I think the level of love now is far greater than when we won.”
— President Trump, quoted by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie in their new book Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency, on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“Two of the president’s longest-serving advisers allege in a new book that scores of officials inside the White House, Congress, the Justice Department and intelligence agencies are ’embedded enemies of President Trump’ working to stymie his agenda and delegitimize his presidency,” the Washington Post reports.
“The authors, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, are both Republican operatives who do not work in the administration but are close to Trump and fashion themselves as his outside protectors. They portray the president as victim to disloyalty on his staff and ‘swamp creatures’ intent on extinguishing his political movement.”
“The authors identify by name a number of Trump appointees who they claim have formed a ‘resistance’ inside the government during the first two years of Trump’s presidency.”
The longtime executive editor of the National Enquirer, Barry Levine, is penning a book for Hachette about the president, Page Six reports.
“A source says that the book will look into ‘Trump and his women,’ although other insiders tell us that it could be more wide-ranging, even looking at the formerly cozy relationship between the Enquirer’s owner, David Pecker, and Trump. That said, it’s unclear exactly what Levine’s contract with the Enquirer would allow him to reveal about Pecker.”
“Cliff Sims, a Trump adviser who joined the West Wing staff on Day One as a special assistant to the president after working on the campaign, is writing a memoir about his time working for the president. The book is set to be published in January,” Politico reports.
“Sims’ book, according to people familiar with the project, has been in the works for months and was described as a thoughtful and introspective portrayal of his time serving in the Trump White House. The book is modeled, those people said, on George Stephanopoulos’ tell-all memoir All Too Human, a personal account of his time serving as communications director in the Clinton White House.”
The 1965 bestselling novel Night of Camp David by Fletcher Knebel has been re-released by the publisher as What Would Happen if the President of the United States Went Stark-Raving Mad?
Senator Jim MacVeagh is proud to serve his country—and his president, Mark Hollenbach, who has a near-spotless reputation as the vibrant, charismatic leader of MacVeagh’s party and the nation. When Hollenbach begins taking MacVeagh into his confidence, the young senator knows that his star is on the rise.
But then Hollenbach starts summoning MacVeagh in the middle of the night to Camp David. There, the president sits in the dark and rants about his enemies, unfurling insane theories about all the people he says are conspiring against him.
I’d never heard of this book but it’s a must-read over the holidays.