The Washington Post, with highlights from Bob Woodward’s Fear, which comes out next week:
Cohn, a Wall Street veteran, tried to tamp down Trump’s strident
nationalism regarding trade. According to Woodward, Cohn “stole a
letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign
to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with
South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the
letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice
that it was missing.
Cohn made a similar play to prevent Trump from pulling the United
States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, something
the president has long threatened to do. […] Under orders from
the president, Porter drafted a notification letter withdrawing
from NAFTA. But he and other advisers worried that it could
trigger an economic and foreign relations crisis. So Porter
consulted Cohn, who told him, according to Woodward: “I can stop
this. I’ll just take the paper off his desk.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis ignores him too:
After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack
on civilians in April 2017, Trump called Mattis and said he wanted
to assassinate the dictator. “Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in.
Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump said, according to
Mattis told the president that he would get right on it. But after
hanging up the phone, he told a senior aide: “We’re not going to
do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.” The
national security team developed options for the more conventional
airstrike that Trump ultimately ordered.
These officials get away with disregarding Trump’s orders — with literally stealing letters off his desk — because Trump is a nitwit. He’s just dumb. His own lawyer thinks he’s an idiot:
Dowd then explained to Mueller and Quarles why he was trying to
keep the president from testifying: “I’m not going to sit there
and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript,
because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are
going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a
goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’ ”
“John, I understand,” Mueller replied, according to Woodward.
Later that month, Dowd told Trump: “Don’t testify. It’s either
that or an orange jumpsuit.”
When Trump was elected I wrote that “Trump voters are ignoramuses, bigots, and/or fools.” Everything that’s gone so horribly awry with his presidency was easily predictable. Anyone who still supports him today must be at least two out of three.
★ Wednesday, 5 September 2018