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Book Review – A Sober Look at the ‘Cartoonishly Chaotic’ Trump White House

The New York Times: “In The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, political journalists keep their cool as they chronicle the outrageous conduct and ugly infighting that marked a presidency like no other. If “The Divider” has a dominant theme, it may be the struggle within the “almost cartoonishly chaotic White House” by people more reasonable and ethical than Trump to rein in his most dangerous instincts. Because everyone had different ideas about where to restrain and where to encourage Trump, the White House became a den of “ongoing tribal warfare,” they write — an “Apprentice”-style reality-TV show in which the parties vied to win Trump’s favor and outlast their rivals, even while at times sabotaging the president’s agenda as they saw fit. How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause…The backbiting — and the sub rosa efforts to thwart their own president — led to constant personnel turnover, a dreary parade of firings, resignations and defenestrations. Trump would cashier one aid in favor of someone more compliant, only for the new guy to find that Trump was even more willful and heedless of rules than he had dreamed. Time and again, staffers debate whether to stay put in hopes of mitigating Trump’s basest impulses or to run screaming from the room. Even more stunning is the number of onetime loyalists who, after their tours of duty, emerged as among the president’s most strident critics…”

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