Books About Donald J. Trump and Other Literary Legacies

BOOKS ABOUT DONALD J. TRUMP AND OTHER LITERARY LEGACIES

“A biography, is a detailed description of a person’s life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person’s experience of these life events,” Wikipedia

By T.K. McNeil

Write It All Down

Trump rarely reads and has been writing his memoir on his Twitter feed.

Trump rarely reads and is writing his memoir on his Twitter feed, 240 characters at a time

We live in an age of documentation. The word “biography” did not enter the English lexicon until relatively recently. We now have the ability to create personalized literature 240 characters at a time.  I’m sure a book about Donald Trump will someday be written based on his Twitter feed.  Before this age of technology however, a person had to be somewhat well-known  before anyone would think to write, or read, a book about them. One group that has almost always been in this category are U.S. presidents.

Once In The Ground

For much of American history, a president could count on being at least out of office before the ink began to fly. Some of the former leaders with the most pages dedicated to them being those who are long dead. Once in the ground, presidents become easy targets for writers and historians to delve into every aspect of their life and career from multiple angles. It’s always easier once someone is dead to dig about in their personal correspondence and investigate rumor and innuendo, and talk to people who shared time with the president.

Give It A Little Time

Before the 21st century most presidents were not written about until after death

Before the 21st century most presidents were not written about until after death

The explanation of course is due to the importance of each presidency to the history of the Republic and the politics of the time. Furthermore, once a president passes he is no longer available to explain himself and the effects of his actions are much more clear through the lens of time.

Paradigm Shift

In the early 1990’s, there was a bit of a shift in presidential biographies. The main outlets for written presidential accounts shifted from after-the-fact books and biographies to the minute-by-minute style of newspaper articles written as books at the time of their presidency. There have been many such books written about Donald J. Trump. Some writers are just trying to figure out what is going on, while others are tell-all’s by former insiders. One of the books written about Donald Trump, specifically his rise to power in 2016, actually being called, “How the Hell Did This Happen?” A bit more surprising is the fact that it was written by self-described “Republican” P. J. O’Rourke.

Actually Number One

There are so many books being written I have had to get an assistant reader

There are so many books being written about Trump I have had to get an assistant reader

For all Trump’s bluster about his achievements and profound faculties, many of them delusional, there is one area in which the current president holds the crown. There are more books about Donald Trump in the third year of his first term than any other living, let alone sitting president, in history.

Outlandish!

Sounds crazy. Donald J. Trump can barely be bothered to read; and writes mostly in 240 word tweets, often with childish spelling errors. Amazingly there have been more books written about Donald Trump than any other living president. Which is now down to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. None of whom are, or should be, immune from criticism.

Sheer Volumes

First let’s set some limits and define some terms. The focus is on books about Donald J.Trump specifically. More than only his presidency, but his life, his business career or even his campaign were scrutinized and written about extensively and published between when he got into office and now. There have been at least 51 books published about the Trump presidency since May 2016. At least 60% of these books about Trump books come out in 2018. Astonishingly, that’s 2.5 books about Trump per month for a total of 30 new publications in 2018.

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“ROGER STONE DID NOTHING WRONG”

Roger Stone is arrested in his Florida home by 17 FBI agents in full swat attire

FBI arrests Roger Stone in early morning raid. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicts Stone on 7 felony charges.

“ROGER STONE DID NOTHING WRONG”

By Ross Turner

 

Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong

Roger Stone models t-shirt he wore when arrested by the FBI on 7 felony counts related to Russian investigation

Roger Stone models T-shirt he wore when arrested by the FBI on 7 felony counts related to Russian investigation

January 25th, 2019.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Pre-dawn.  Heavily armed men file out of a caravan of black SUVs.  Swarming the Mediterranean-style home, a bearded man pounds on the door: “FBI.  Open the door.”  Within moments, a grey-haired, shoeless figure emerges.  He appears briefly confused, but, given the circumstances, unfazed.  He puts his hands in the air as he turns around, submitting to his arrest with perfunctory calm.  Twenty minutes later, being led back into his home by federal agents, security footage captures the text of the suspect’s t-shirt, one that perfectly encapsulates the man in question.  It reads: “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong.”

What’s In A Shirt?

We may never know whether Stone put on that shirt deliberately for the occasion, but anybody familiar with him knows he probably would have.  It’s very existence speaks volumes of his sordid career, a winking reference to his infamous reputation.  It is, let’s say, not the fashion statement typical of an innocent man.  Robert Mueller, Special Counsel to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, would tend to agree.  Stone has been indicted on seven criminal charges, including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, one count of witness tampering, and five counts of false statements.  Stone himself is probably disappointed to be arraigned on such lame charges, given how many juicier bits of wrongdoing there are to choose from.

WikiWoes

Roger Stone is suspected of working hand in hand with Julian Assange of Wikileaks to attack Clinton and Podesta in 2016 Presidential campaign

Roger Stone is suspected of working hand in hand with Julian Assange of Wikileaks to attack Clinton and Podesta in 2016 campaign.

The allegations stem from his involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, where he is believed to have been in contact with Julian Assange of Wikileaks.  Days before Wikileaks released troves of stolen e-mails from John Podesta, chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign, Stone posted mocking tweets aimed at Podesta and Clinton: “It will soon [sic] the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” and, “Wednesday Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks.”  Despite this plainly damning evidence and the fact that he formerly acknowledged establishing a back-channel with Assange, Stone claimed to have had no advanced knowledge of the data breach or its publishing.  His legal troubles originate from the consequent lies and obstruction committed after this fact.  He has, adorably, pleaded not guilty.

Who is Roger Stone?

Stone's flamboyancy and verve for style is matched only by his immorality and taste for duplicity

Stone’s flamboyancy and verve for style is matched only by his immorality and taste for duplicity

For Stone, a self-described “dirty trickster” and “agent provocateur,” it must be surprising that this took so long.  His long career as a political consultant, lobbyist, strategist, and “fixer” has been built on an ethical flexibility rarely seen so openly in American politics.  He combines the political philosophy of Machiavelli, the cartoonish villainy of The Joker, and the fashion sensibility of Tim Gunn.  He has a tattoo of Nixon on his back.  He doesn’t, as a rule, wear socks.  He was friends and business partners with Paul Manafort (before it was cool.)  He claims to own over 100 silver neckties.  His flamboyancy and verve for style is matched only by his amorality and taste for duplicity.  He is the living embodiment of “the ends justify the means.”  He is also strangely charming and, again, a fabulous dresser.  But where did a character such as Stone come from, and how did he get to be this way?

Lunch Line Lies

Turns out, he was always like this.  In fact, style and trickery appear seared into his DNA, preceding his political leanings.  As a young boy, Stone favored John F. Kennedy because his Catholic parents had a “certain sympathy” for him, but also because “Kennedy’s hair was so much better than Nixon’s hair.”  Consequently, in the run up to a mock election in his elementary school, Stone went through the cafeteria line and told every kid he found that Nixon had proposed having school on Saturdays.  Kennedy won “in a landslide.”  Stone recalls, “For the first time ever I understood the value of disinformation.  Of course I’ve never practiced it since then.”  This tendency – to admit to scheming while cheekily denying it – would become Stone’s modus operandi.

Dealing in the Black Arts

Stone said of his part in the 1972 presidential campaign, I'm officially a scheduler by day, but by night I'm trafficking in the dark arts."

Stone said of his part in the 1972 presidential campaign, “I’m officially a scheduler by day, but by night I’m trafficking in the dark arts.”

Stone made his political conversion to conservatism only two years later after reading Barry Goldwater’s The Consciousness of a Conservative.  In 1972, at the age of twenty, he dropped out of George Washington University to help with Nixon’s reelection campaign where he played a minor role as a junior scheduler.  But it wasn’t long before he put his unique skill-set to work.  One early act of sabotage was contributing money to an opponent of Nixon in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance,  and then handing the receipt to the local newspaper in order to portray Nixon’s rival as a dirty commie.  He also hired spies to infiltrate the campaigns of George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey.  Though officially a scheduler by day, “by night, I’m trafficking in the black arts,” said Stone.

PAC Man

Stone remarked, "NCPAC is transformative in the sense that we really pioneered negative advertising in massive doses to win elections."

Stone remarked, “NCPAC is transformative in the sense that we really pioneered negative advertising in massive doses to win elections.”

In 1975, Stone helped found the National Conservative Political Action Committee for the explicit purpose of circumventing recently imposed campaign contribution limits.  They exploited the loophole of ‘independent expenditures,’ which allowed the PAC to advertise on behalf of (or against) a candidate as long as there was no ‘coordination’ with the campaign.  This was the first of many “super PACs” that dominate our elections to this day.  Stone remarked, “NCPAC is transformative in the sense that we really pioneered negative advertising in massive doses to win elections.  Up to that time it really hadn’t been done.”  In fact, one of “Stone’s Rules” – his personal words to live by – is, “Hate is a stronger motivator than love.”

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America Gripped By Bomb Threats


The Dark Jester
By T.K. McNeil

Not All

Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump is evil or even stupid. Many are, but not all. It is truly sad, yet also understandable, the large number of people who had once voted for Obama that swung to Trump in 2016. What brought about this radical change? Was it just a terrible Democratic candidate? Or was it an honest, if misguided, wish for change? As far as I can tell the root of Trump’s popularity is that he is not an establishment politician. Something which appeals strongly to the latent, borderline anarchist, anti-government streak in this country dating back to Tomas Paine. It is in our national DNA as shown by the founding documents; which were willfully engineered to maximize individual rights and limit direct government control.

Media Coverage

Until recently Trump’s anti-statist position remained camouflaged. It is popular, and fun, to point out how Trump is the worst president in history; who has done things no one ever has, only to be countered by professional smart ass comedian Adam Conover and opinionated op-ed writers, observing that there is historical precedent for everything Trump has done and is doing. There is, however, one area in which Trump is a true and terrifying original. His relationship with the media is the worst of any President in American history. An ironic fact given the key role media coverage, both positive and negative, has played in his success.

The Historical Record

Looking to history, there have been political leaders in America who have had strained, if not a
borderline adversarial relationship with the press, but until Trump there has never been the fierce and unrelenting daily attacks on the media by a president of the United States. The difference between Trump and the leaders of the past is that the leaders of the past had the knowledge and political experience to hide their disgust of the press and play the political game. Richard Nixon an astute politician knew enough to talk football with the notorious journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who would later become one of his greatest opponents and detractors.

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Part VII: Behind The Curtain

At the end of Part VI it was January 11th and Donald Trump was holding his first press conference since his Electoral College win. Trump stood to one side of the stage, flanked by Donald Jr 39, Ivanka 35, and Eric 33, listening to his tax attorney, Sheri Dillon explain to the audience of reporters and staff, the changes that were being made to the Trump Organization.

The stage with a center podium was decorated with solemn dark blue drapes and a row of American flags with long gold tassels giving the event a sober tone. On a black shrouded table, to the left of where Dillon stood at the podium, were stacks of manila folders. The stacks were impressively high. Pointing to the stacks of folders, Dillon claimed they were filled with 1000’s of documents proving that Trump was re-arranging his empire to satisfy the growing chorus of critics.

Trump Turns Over Trump Organization To His Sons

Dillon claimed the Trump “business empire” was “massive”. She emphasized massive several times. A couple of times Dillon tried to draw a correlation between Trump and former Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller as she talked about the changes being made at the Trump Organization. Evidently, she did not know that Rockefeller had released his tax returns and later offered to place his sizeable assets in a blind trust. Neither of which Trump has offered to do.

“The plan” was, according to Dillon, to put the Trump Organization into a trust to be managed by his sons and a long time executive. She emphasized that there would be no more foreign deals, an ethics advisor would be chosen and lastly, Donald Trump would have no involvement in the business. It quickly became clear that Trump was not going to sell his business or put those assets in a blind trust, or release his tax returns.

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