Bob Woodward – Fear: Trump in the White House

Bob Woodward – Fear: Trump in the White House

I usually avoid books about politicians, or at least ones current enough where partisan emotions still run hot. I made an exception for this one because two of Trump’s most active issues—trade and regulation—are my research specialties.

Containing the damage he is doing on trade, immigration, deficit spending, and foreign policy is an important priority for both parties. At the same time, leveraging his various personality tics on issues where he has been a net force for good, such as regulation, is also important.

Aides describe “Groundhog Day” meetings where they have to explain over and over again, often with colorful, simple visual aids, and non-controversial basic facts  the president either ignores or does not understand. When an aide once asked Trump why he holds his eccentric trade views, for example, the President simply explained that he had held them for a long time.

He did not cite any sort of principle or argument, just that he had felt that way for a long time. In this way, Trump is a modern-day Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Trump’s hiring choices compound the problem. Trade advisor Peter Navarro, for example, self-describes his job not as offering sound economic advice, but as supporting and confirming whatever intuitions the President already holds. President Trump’s intellectual and managerial qualities will no doubt make the next two to six years highly entertaining.


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