Trump's Enemies (Corey Lewandowski & David Bosse)

Here are some general observations about this book: (1) Readers who have been following the national political conversation over the past couple of years won’t find much new information. (2) The authors are diehard Trump supporters, and their description of his presidency is excessively laudatory. (3) The book covers developments up to September 20, 2018, on which date the authors had a 45-minute interview with the president (see recap starting on p. 171), and possibly several events in October. (4) There are some glaring editing errors, e.g., a mix-up between the Crimean peninsula and Ukraine on p. 16, and a confusion about dates on p. 232 (the first debate in the Republican presidential primary campaign was on 8/6/15, a year before the cited Peter Strozk/Lisa Page text messages in August 2016). Perhaps these errors resulted from rushed publication before the mid-term elections. (5) Much has happened since Trump’s Enemies was published, so it is basically a progress report versus a completed account.

The book offers some interesting insights , which aren’t necessarily points the authors were trying to make. For example:

A. Various Trump campaign rallies in the run-up to the 2018 mid-terms are described, but there is little discussion of the overall electoral contest and no speculation about the outcome. It’s almost as though only the president’s personal involvement was deemed of interest.

B. Assessment of the president’s accomplishments, such as initiating denuclearization negotiations with North Korea or an apparent speedup in economic growth, will in many cases be dependent on future developments. The possibility that things won’t go as well as hoped doesn’t seem to have been considered.

C. The only references to future developments are the prediction of a constitutional crisis stemming from the Mueller probe, perhaps beginning when Robert Mueller seeks to subpoena the president’s testimony, and a vague reference to the president’s reelection campaign in 2020. It doesn’t seem to be recognized that the president’s outsider run in 2016 may not work again if he doesn’t find ways to expand his political base, i.e., Corey Lewandowski’s slogan of “let Trump be Trump” is not necessarily sound political advice.

D. In the authors’ interview with the president, Davie Bossie asked who or what the president regarded as the biggest enemy of him or his administration. His answer was not any individual person, but rather “fake news,” i.e., media reports or commentary that the president regards as unfair.

E. Advice that the president elect Trump received from President Obama after the 2016 election (this may have reported elsewhere, not sure): “North Korea is your single biggest national security threat.” “Don’t let anyone influence you on who to hire or not.” And then, a few minutes later, “Barack Obama told Donald Trump not to hire General Michael T. Flynn,” who just happened to be “one of the few people we were already seriously considering for a position in the administration.” p. 101 et seq.

F. During the 1990s, David Bossie was a congressional investigator who, among other things, headed the investigation of the Whitewater land deal. This left Bossie with an appreciation for some of the techniques used by FBI personnel in investigating the Trump campaign, transition team, and ultimately administration. His comments on how a “perjury trap” can be set (e.g., p. 212) are illuminating.

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