It’s easy to get lost in exaggerations and superlatives when talking about President Donald Trump. He claims everything he does is the biggest, the first, the best. And given how norm-busting Trump’s presidency is — in terms of his relationships to the media, to his own party, to policy — it’s also difficult to avoid making mountains out of everything, even those things that might be molehills.
That said, consider what we are talking about here: One of the two reporters primarily responsible for a series of stories detailing corruption at the highest level of the Nixon government and a man who has spent the last four decades reporting and chronicling how each successive president since Nixon has dealt with the immense challenges of the office, is now suggesting that what he saw in the Trump White House is unlike what he’s seen before.
That’s a big deal — especially because it confirms much of the daily reporting that has come out of this White House since Trump became President 19 months ago.
How has the President responded to the seriousness of the charges contained within Woodward’s book, and those that the author leveled himself on Monday? The same way he almost always does — by name-calling on Twitter.
(Sidebar: That book is going to be AMAZING.)
In a credibility fight then, Trump loses. But he also loses in a little thing I like to call common sense.
What Woodward is reporting in his book isn’t new. There have been reports of massive staff dysfunction in the Trump White House from the get-go. There have been reports that Trump seems uninterested or unaware of the details of key foreign policy and national security efforts. He seems entirely convinced that he possesses all the knowledge he needs despite never having held elected office before. He began his presidency cocooned from the news and has grown only more so — seemingly (if his Twitter feed is an accurate representation) primarily watching Fox News at this point. His entire life — including the long period before he started running for president — suggests that Trump is simply telling himself a story of his own life. Whether or not that story is consistent with established facts has never been of much concern to him.
When Bob Woodward says that we are not taking seriously the threat posed by a President “so detached from the reality of what’s going on,” we should all take note. These are not idle words by a carnival barker.