The eagerly awaited release of a book that is set to get the whole world talking about it, is upon us and some excerpts already published have certainly whetted the appetite and heightened anticipation.
Confidence Man – The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, is a chronicle of the former President by celebrated Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman. It has been said this is the book that Trump fears the most, probably because its author is a journalist who has demonstrated over time, that she knows him the best and as such, is able to define him like nobody else.
It basically a book that only Haberman could have written. A biography detailing an individual, followed and studied extensively and recounted meticulously, with the upmost diligence. Observations relating to Trump’s character are likely to be more revealing than his outrageous decision-making, which although sure to be wildly over the top, bordering on the scandalous, will not be particularly shocking, such was his way.
Painting a true picture
The book follows Mr Trump all the way from his time as a New York businessman, through to his life after the presidency. It draws from interviews with more than 200 sources, including former aides as well as three interviews with the man himself. She is able to paint the truest picture of someone who seemingly relies on casual cruelty to suit circumstances, yet is capable of genuine acts of kindness.
Attempt to discredit
He has attempted to discredit the book before its release, writing on his social media platform that the publication contains “many made up stories with zero fact checking”. Unfortunately for Mr Trump, Maggie Haberman is a journalist who commands respect. Few have covered the man as extensively as her and as a result, nobody understands his motives and actions as well as she does.
Disturbing revelations yet not wholly surprising
Some of the eye-opening revelations that will leave many astounded include:
Apparently staff at the White House periodically discovered that the toilet was clogged with printed paper and it became clear that Mr Trump was regularly attempting to flush away documents.
It is believed he did this after he was made aware that documentation could not be torn up as it contravenes the Presidential Records Act – a law that says documents created or received by a president are the property of the US government and are as a consequence, to be handled by the United States National Archives, once the presidency ends.
When plumbing engineers came to fix the problem, they would find wads of clumped-up printed wet paper were the cause of the blockage.
Astonishing conversation with UK Prime Minister
In a meeting with the then UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Trump spoke about abortion, bizarrely saying “some people are pro-life, some people are pro-choice. Imagine if some animals with tattoos raped your daughter and she got pregnant?”
An astonishing comment, especially given the personality of the person it was directed at. He then seemingly changed the subject in a conversation on Northern Ireland to discuss how to block an offshore wind project from being set up near his own property.
Given his apparent nonchalant attitude towards Covid-19, somewhat surprisingly, the book reveals that Mr Trump was genuinely fearful of dying, when he fell ill with the virus in October 2020. However, remarkably after being warned by his deputy chief of staff, Tony Ornato, that if his health deteriorated any further he would have to set in motion procedures to ensure the continuity of government, his reaction was of someone in complete denial.
He asked aides around him to take off their face masks, and advised the then New York governor Andrew Cuomo to not talk about the virus on TV any more; insisting that Cuomo should not make such a big deal out of the virus, as constantly mentioning it was going to make it into a real problem.
Wanted to sack his own daughter and her husband
He also wanted to fire his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and was only stopped from doing so by his then Chief of Staff John Kelly. Trump has since denied ever wanting to sack either of them: “Pure fiction. Never even crossed my mind,” he said.
The author brings together the events of Mr Trump’s life into a single spellbinding piece of work. It is the conclusive account of one of the most incredible periods in American political history. Having the greatest access to the White House throughout his presidency, gave her a unique level of access, which she has eloquently articulated into bookform.
An enigma and law unto himself
When asked to interpret why he was behaving so appallingly and showing complete disregard and lack of respect for others, Haberman considered the question for a moment, before stating that ultimately, almost no one really knows him. Some know him better than others, but he is often simply, purely opaque, permitting people to read meaning and depth into every action, no matter how empty they might be.
He was certainly not lacking in confidence; so much so that perhaps the book should have been given the title of “Over Confidence Man”.