I was very skeptical buying this book, as with many political books, they are either over blown appraisals or a complete smear campaign. For the first few chapters I thought this was going to be a complete smear campaign against President Trump and for the most part the entire book was… sort of, unless you read between the lines.
Almost every chapter has someone in the administration being quoted as calling Trump stupid, an idiot, knows nothing, ADD, no patience, and most of all having a complete lack of political knowledge.
As I was reading the book I heard many news anchors and personalities give their opinion. The left were in their glory and aggressively played the “he’s not fit for office card” or “he is mentally unstable” while the right just bashed Bannon and the author Michael Wolff. I am going to write this review as if the entire book were completely true and take it at face value, and I think you will see why by the end.
First thing I will say to just get it out of the way is Steve Bannon is portrayed as a complete and utter cancer to the Trump administration. Throughout the first year he leaked all kinds of things to the press and ultimately only thought for himself. At one point he even said he would be President in 2020 – ha, look at him now! Looking back I really think Bannon was a huge mistake and he caused all kinds of undue pain for Trump and his campaign and then his administration.
It starts off with the campaign and I can’t stress enough how the book describes Trumps campaign. Totally unorganized, no one is on the same page, too many chefs in the kitchen, people fighting for power, and the reality is on average only 4 people were running most of the campaign. The book goes into a lot of detail with the internal bickering about how Trump should do this or say that, let Trump be Trump, and all along the way bashing candidate Trump as a narcissistic, idiot, and maniac. The book leaves you to believe this is the worst campaign ever, there is just one problem with that… he won! So are you telling me such a “poorly run campaign” with an idiot as the candidate could beat the Clinton machine? This tells me Trump is near genius and maybe even a stable one or Hillary was actually that bad. It gave very little credit to Trump and his base and the reality is the times he was himself were the times he shined the best for his base.
Let’s start with one of the descriptions of Steve Bannon:
“Catholic school in Richmond, Virginia. Then a local college, Virginia Tech. Then seven years in the Navy, a lieutenant on ship duty and then in the Pentagon. While on active duty, he got a master’s degree at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, but then he washed out of his naval career. Then an MBA from Harvard Business School. Then four years as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs—his final two years focusing on the media industry in Los Angeles—but not rising above a midlevel position.” – link
Now in my sheltered life, becoming a lieutenant in the Navy and getting out after 7 years and getting a Masters degree then an MBA from Harvard are some pretty good accomplishments, but just look at how Wolff describes him and the words he chooses: “washed out”, “midlevel”. What the hell! How about just, “thank you for your 7 years of service” and move on!
The next piece was the Obama hold overs. This is really sad and disgusting. To know the DOJ, FBI, and the many “career government workers” continuously sabotage the sitting President makes me sick to my stomach. I am thinking there needs to be harsher punishment for people who obstruct government because of political bias.
There is a moment in the book where Trump “left a bowel movement in the middle of their Afghan plans”. For someone who is described throughout the book as no attention span, President Trump was able to sit through two hours “angrily railed” against the proposal the Generals handed him. Disgusted he threatened to fire them all. This is exactly the Trump his base wanted, someone to go in there and not bend to the BS, however, in the end nothing had changed.
The book also gives 5 possible reasons how the Russia investigation will turn out but in general the belief is its a big nothing burger from a collusion perspective but could turn into a money laundering problem for some key people in the administration – Kushner, and Donald Jr.
It then goes into how Jarvanka – the combination of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are considered one side of the fight for power. The others fighting were Bannon and then of course General Kelly. There was so much turmoil in the administration the book makes you believe they never got anything done. When in reality, look at Trumps first year! He achieved a lot of his goals with the market, jobs, and the economy.
In the end, I think this author, Wolff, was out on a mission to completely discredit the President and his administration. I also think he ruined Bannon’s career, as I think while Bannon provided a lot of the crazy quotes apparently it also made Bannon look like a sociopath. His not so subtle way of describing people and meetings in a completely negative light grows on you like a cancer. I had a hard time getting passed it and almost put the book down because I could clearly see his agenda.