OffTheBUS

24/7 Live News Portal

“My fucking generals are a bunch of chickens”


President Donald Trump salutes from Air Force One.MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Rage (Rage), the Bob Woodward book that went on sale this Tuesday, paints the portrait of a feverish and erratic Administration, similar to one of those Wagnerian dawns of the president at the helm of his Twitter account. The main information bomb, the deliberate concealment of the severity of the pandemic for months, was public last week, but the veteran journalist’s account includes other unusual episodes, such as his criticism of the generals, his almost romantic chemistry with Kim Jong-un and the flamboyant gaze of son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Woodward, who has researched and written about nine presidents for half a century, ends with an unusual conclusion from the journalist: “Trump is the wrong man for the job.” These are some pearls on which it is based:

“My fucking generals are a bunch of chickens”

In July 2017, Trump asked his adviser Peter Navarro to step forward in the negotiations on steel tariffs because he considered a tougher strategy than that of the representative of the Trade Office, Robert Lighthizer, and the Secretary of Commerce. Wilbur Ross, they were applying, “Not to mention my fucking generals, who are a bunch of chickens, care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals,” Trump said, according to the book.

The president was keen to tax aluminum imports, over the misgivings of his then top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs banker who resigned shortly thereafter. “We are going to put a tariff on all steel and aluminum, on everything that comes, and we’ll see what happens.” That experimental “we’ll see what happens” horrified Cohn. “We are a consumer economy, prices are going to rise and it is going to have a significant impact on gross domestic product (GDP),” he replied. “We are not a country that produces aluminum, but rather products,” he stressed.

The Pentagon chief slept dressed amid escalating tension with North Korea

The first Secretary of Defense appointed by the Donald Trump Administration, Jim Mattis (today a very critical voice against the president), came to truly fear a war against North Korea, which would leave millions of dead. The verbal tension between Trump and the North Korean dictator over nuclear weapons reached such a level in 2017 that General Mattis slept dressed, in exercise clothes, to be able to join any emergency meeting by videoconference ipso facto, in the middle of the night, wherever you are.

In late 2017, a day after work, he asked his security team to let him enter the Washington National Cathedral alone so that he could pray and reflect. It had been a fateful summer of cross-threats, and the Pentagon chief had received authorization from the president to shoot down a North Korean missile if it threatened the United States, South Korea, or Japan. A communication team accompanied him continuously, in any activity and place in the world, in case he had to give the order.

Privately, according to the book, Mattis said at the time that he never cared much about what Trump said. “I didn’t get much guidance from him, except for a tweet.” Although the power over the use of nuclear weapons is a directly presidential power, he always believed that the president would follow his recommendations.

“You meet a woman and in a second you know if it is going to happen or not”

Yes, those months in which the head of the Pentagon came to really fear an atomic war gave way to an unusual relationship between the president of the United States and the North Korean dictator. Trump described to Woodward in these words the “great chemistry”, in his words, that emerged at that first bilateral summit in 2018: “You know a woman. In a second, you know if it will happen or not. It doesn’t take you 10 minutes, it doesn’t take you six weeks. It’s like: ‘Wow’. Voucher. You know? It costs you less than a second, ”he says.

With Barack Obama, however, Kim did not understand each other, Trump boasts in that interview. “She did not respect Obama. She did not like it. I thought she was an asshole. ” The reporter asks him about what happened in the first meeting with the North Korean leader. And the president of the United States responds: “It was mostly cameras. I have seen more cameras than any human being in history. There are hundreds of them and I have them for free. They cost me nothing. They say I spent 25% [en realidad, fue un 50%] of what Hillary spent [Clinton, su rival demócrata en las elecciones de 2016] but I earned a media value of $ 6 billion. “

Fears of blackmail of Trump by Putin

No evidence has ever emerged that Russian President Vladimir Putin had compromised material about the US leader that served as a form of extortion. However, Trump’s disconcerting crony with the leader accused by the United States of interfering in the 2016 elections, overriding even his own intelligence services, contributed to that fear. The report prepared by a former British spy (known as the Steel Report), which cited an alleged sex video of the American held by Moscow, was also considered apocryphal. However, suspicions of possible blackmail persisted at the highest level.

The “doubts” of Dan Coats, National Director of Intelligence until July 2019 – and who, therefore, had access to the most sensitive information – “continued” despite finding no evidence, according to Rage. Coats’ concerns went beyond Russia. “Coats believed that the main threat to the security section was that Trump wanted to ignore the kind of process that goes through experts,” writes Woodward. Often times, the New York mogul would literally say, “I don’t need these people, I don’t need a Security Council, I just need myself and three or four people I trust,” the book says.

Alice in Wonderland

Trump’s son-in-law recommends Alice in Wonderland to understand the president. Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka, the president’s eldest daughter, has been one of the most influential people in the White House from the beginning of the Administration. The 39-year-old businessman said that to understand Trump you have to look, among other things, at the Cheshire cat of Alice in Wonderland. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” Kushner paraphrased, according to the book. More than leadership, the presidential adviser came to say, perseverance mattered. “The controversy elevates the message,” he also stressed. “The four messages [de Jared Kushner] they painted President Trump as crazy, directionless, stubborn and manipulative. It was hard for me to believe that he said that this was the way to understand his father-in-law, much less to understand the president for whom he worked ”.


elpais.com