The two comments that have received the overwhelming attention in Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, are statements that Trump made to Woodward on February 7 of this year when he said the virus was very ‘deadly,’ and then in March when he admitted to Woodward that he deliberately ‘played down’ the viral threat. 

              You can read descriptions of both of these exchanges between Trump and Woodward in the first 6 pages of the book. I’m willing to take short odds that 99% of the noisemakers on both sides of the political aisle have read those pages and nothing more.

              Now if you take the trouble to read all 392 pages of Woodward’s text, here’s how it ends: “When his performance as president is taken in tis entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

              I happen to disagree with Woodward for two reasons: First, the book’s narrative doesn’t support what he says. Second, nowhere in the book do we get any kind of definition of what the president’s job is supposed to be. And even if we did, who says how Woodward defines the Presidency is a definition that would be shared by anyone else?

              I am going to review this book as well as the book written by Michael Cohen.  Please note: I have been a political junkie for 60 years (since as a high-school sophomore in 1960, I was in the crowd at JFK’s New York campaign rally in Herald Square), I have read probably every book, news magazine article and credible political blog about presidential politics that has been published to date, and I am a proud, yellow-dog Democrat except that I believe that LBJ’s decision to widen the war in Southeast Asia was the worst decision any President has ever made.

              That being said, I don’t agree with Bob Woodward’s evaluation of Trump, and I don’t believe the media has been fair to him or has really understood the political style and behavior that he represents.

              No other President in my lifetime has ever given any journalist the degree of open and unfettered access that Trump gave to Woodward prior to the publication of this book. In fact, no other President has been as unblocked and unfiltered as Trump, even with journalists and opinion-makers representing media venues who are openly critical of just about everything Trump does.

              This doesn’t mean that Trump has done a good or even passable job. He hasn’t, as far as I’m concerned. But to disparage his communication style and content by comparing him to FDR, which is how Woodward ends up deciding that Trump is unfit for the job, is to make a comparison that is simply beyond belief.  How could any other President stack up against FDR?

              The first half of the book covers foreign policy issues with Russia, China and North Korea that eventually led to resignations of Tillerson and Mattis, who were respectively the initial Secretaries of State and Defense. Both ultimately resigned because they were unable, they believed, to carry out their responsibilities for a President who would say one thing in a meeting with either of them, and then blow out a tweet which said exactly the reverse.

              I recall the first 18 months of the Trump Administration when it seemed like a highly-placed member of the Executive branch was quitting every other day, at least two dozen senior people quit or were fired during that time.  Know what? The government didn’t collapse.

              If I had an opportunity to interview Trump, and I wanted to figure out what made his Presidency so different, I would ask him why he seems to attract so many scam artists like Manafort, then those two Russians who told Giuliani they could help him dig up dirt on Biden in the Ukraine, then Bannon, now DeJoy, there must be others as well.

              Maybe I’ll find the answer in Michal Cohen’s book which I’m going to read tonight.