In the pages of Rage, Jared Kushner acknowledges that Donald Trump is just not wedded to the reality. Moderately, each males discover exaggeration a potent weapon in stirring opinion. Requested concerning the president’s propensity to inflate his achievements, Kushner responds: “Controversy elevates message.”

In that case, each the president and his son-in-law needs to be eternally grateful to Bob Woodward, his newest e book and the following tumult. By the president’s personal tape-recorded admission, he was conscious about the risks posed by Covid-19 however elected to lie concerning the hazard confronted by the American public.

The plague didn’t vanish, greater than 190,000 are lifeless. When Jonathan Karl of ABC Information pressed the president at a press convention about his lie, he was on very stable floor. To say in any other case is delusional – or fan fiction. Kayleigh McEnany, the newest White Home spokeswoman, is aware of that for certain.

Whereas the president claims his sole goal was to keep away from chaos, the pandemic has fused itself to the social cloth. As the top of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has acknowledged, the hassle to eradicate Covid-19 is a marathon not a dash, and it’s removed from over.

And but re-election is an actual chance. Florida has shifted, now not leaning Democratic. A Biden-Harris win in Nevada seems much less sure. Trump is down, however not out. Rage arrives at what could also be an inflection level, formally revealed seven weeks earlier than probably the most consequential electoral contests. Nevertheless you slice it, the US stands polarized, a nation divided.

As anticipated from Woodward, these in proximity to energy share their tales. James Mattis, the previous protection secretary, Dan Coats, the previous director of nationwide intelligence, and Kushner all make greater than cameo appearances. Coats is caught musing that Vladimir Putin should have one thing over the president.

“How else to elucidate the president’s conduct?” Woodward writes. “Coats may see no different rationalization.”

Rage additionally catches the discomfort of Coats’ spouse. As destiny would have it, Trump dismissed Coats after unexpectedly working into the couple at considered one of his golf programs.

However what units Rage aside from the Pulitzer-winning writer’s earlier works is that Trump consented to be taped, on the report. In different phrases, the e book possesses greater than a patina of similarity to the well-known televised interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon, the president Woodward and Carl Bernstein introduced down with their reporting on Watergate almost a half-century in the past.

Woodward remembers a well-known Nixon quote, from greater than 40 years earlier: “I gave them a sword. And so they caught it in. And so they twisted it with relish. And, I assume, if I’d been of their place, I’d have finished the identical factor.”

The response is pure Trump: “Nixon was in a nook along with his thumb caught in his mouth.”

Rage makes clear that Trump’s affinity for dictators and strongmen is a part of his DNA. Along with capturing the bromance with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Woodward quotes Trump discussing his rapport with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, and others.

“It’s humorous the relationships I’ve,” Trump says. “The harder and meaner they’re, the higher I get together with them … Clarify that to me sometime.” The reply to that will have been evident to the president.

Senator Lindsey Graham additionally makes quite a few appearances. In response to Woodward, the South Carolina Republican served as a conduit between Invoice Barr, the lawyer normal, and the White Home. However Graham additionally seems as a pleasant critic.

After seeing Trump wave a Bible in entrance of St John’s church, throughout from the White Home, after peaceable protesters had been cleared with teargas, Graham exclaims that he has “by no means been extra apprehensive”. South Carolina’s senior senator defined that Trump may have responded to the racial unrest fomented by the homicide of George Floyd like George Wallace, Nixon or Robert Kennedy.

Wallace was a segregationist governor of Alabama. Nixon fancied himself because the law-and-order candidate. Kennedy was a slain president’s youthful brother, who tried to maintain the peace after the killing of Martin Luther King and was then killed himself.

Trump opted to emulate Wallace.

Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside St John’s, across Lafayette Square from the White House in June.

Donald Trump holds up a Bible outdoors St John’s, throughout Lafayette Sq. from the White Home in June. {Photograph}: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Pictures

As Graham noticed issues, incumbent presidents lack the posh of performing as bystanders to occasions. In Woodward’s account, Trump is portrayed as preferring to say credit score whilst he eschews accountability.

Whereas the coronavirus unfold, Trump repeatedly let governors know the burden of shoring up their sick, their medical doctors and their folks would fall on their shoulders first. Woodward emphasizes Trump’s reluctance to throw the burden of the federal authorities behind preventing Covid-19. It was to be the world’s best backstop.

In Graham’s phrases, Trump “desires to be a wartime president, however he doesn’t need to personal any greater than he has to personal”.

And but Rage additionally makes clear that Trump’s want for accolades is aware of few bounds. After adopting a partial ban on journey to and from China, as urged by at the very least 5 advisers, Trump asserted that he had fathered and birthed the plan on his personal.

“I had 21 folks in my workplace,” he stated. However solely “one individual had stated we’ve to shut it down. That was me.”

Woodward is puzzled by Trump’s cooperation. Not like Nixon when Frost got here calling, the president was not paid to be a witness towards himself.

Rage comes with a particular viewpoint. Woodward contends {that a} “president should be keen to share the worst with the folks, the dangerous the information with the nice”. As an alternative of “truth-telling”, Woodward writes, Trump has “enshrined private impulse as a governing principal”.

When Trump’s “efficiency is taken in its entirety”, he concludes, historical past will present that he was “the mistaken man for the job”.

Maybe. three November comes first.