Around six months ago, I wrote that the Trump phenomenon was so shocking for the lack of literature it produced. Not literature on the president’s side of the debate. Such a jumbled and contradictory stream of barbs could never form an ideology with intellectual clout (despite the best efforts of American Affairs magazine). No, the lack of literature was on the opposition side. The president is so foul, yet David Cay Johnston’s old exposé (The Making of Donald Trump) was still the go-to text so long after the inauguration. I was only pondering this peculiarity at the time because another high profile book on Trump had finally dropped: Howard Jacobson’s Pussy. That novella about Donald and his people was a bit of a mess, hammering as it did all the gossip Jacobson could find on Trump into a rather slapdash roman à clef. This week as 2018 makes itself known, that sinister hearsay and chatter about the first family (and their bootlicking adoptees, Bannon, Spicer, and Priebus) has been proven true by the luckiest journalist alive – Michael Wolff. Somehow, Wolff managed to insinuate himself into the White House and stayed long enough to burn the whole place down. The President, with his already muted senses dulled further by the chance of publicity, allowed the ex-Hollywood Reporter journalist to just come and… hang around. From a first glance, it seems Wolff’s interviews with the inner circle in Fire and Fury are explosive. I feel a little sorry for the intern who will no doubt be asked to read each line, very slowly, to Trump. Although by the time he’s got through all 300 pages, it might be 2020. It seems that the significant new book on Trump I was searching for in May has finally arrived.
It also occurs to me that in another article on the commander-in-chief last year, I charged him with obstruction of justice and argued that even though Trump deserves impeachment, the congressional Republicans won’t depose him unless electoral reward is guaranteed. I think my framing of the issue was about right, although this new year people talk less of impeachment and more of the twenty-fifth amendment: removing the President on the grounds he is unable to discharge the office. The sad truth I have now realised is that we’re all way off the mark. Wolff’s Fire and Fury will demonstrate Trump’s crippling inability to be President, if it needed proving. The more significant revelation is that those Republicans on Capitol Hill with the power to change things don’t care.
6th January 2018