I haven’t been in the Oval Office since Trump moved into the White House. So, I can’t testify to exactly what Donald Trump has said and done behind closed doors in this famous office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
But, I have been there a few times with other presidents…including a couple I didn’t vote for...but respected nonetheless. It is powerful understatement to call the Oval Office a special place. When you realize that some of the most monumental decisions in world history were pondered and made there…you understand just how special.
Most people might not know that America’s first president - George Washington - never lived a single day in the White House. John Adams - the second president of the United States - first walked into the Oval Office in 1800. Since then, the Oval Office has symbolized as much as any thing…America’s ability to choose good and wise leaders.
Some of those leaders - to be sure - were wiser, more compassionate and better suited to pilot America’s ship of state than others. But, by far, most presidents of the United States have been good and great stewards of democracy...and left the world better than they found it.
But, last week, Bob Woodward - the legendary journalist who along with Carl Bernstein cut his teeth on the misuse of power by a president of the United States…Richard Nixon and the Watergate break-in and coverup - gave all of us once again reason to fear when bad people enter the Oval Office.
Woodward’s new book - “Fear: Trump in the White House” - provides insights into the mind of Donald Trump as no one has heretofore done. The verbatim quotes of senior staff and Cabinet members gathered by Woodward provide more than glimpses of an unhinged mind…more than a few pieces in a jig-saw puzzle picture that shows us all what we hoped and prayed didn’t exist.
Some of Trump’s closest aides and advisers - so wary of Trump’s irrational impulses that pose real dangers to national and world security - have resorted to deception…even the theft and hiding of papers from the president to save America from disaster.
Woodward - who has two Pulitzer Prizes - interviewed dozens of White House officials and has hundreds of hours of taped conversations for this 448-page book that releases officially tomorrow…Sept. 11. Woodward’s credibility as a fair journalist is beyond reproach.
Of course, Woodward sought interviews with Trump for the book…but was denied…six times. Initially, the White House said such requests were never made - dodging truth as this Administration has done since day one.
I won’t bother to list all the absurd quotes from those closest to the president…please read the book. Unless you’re incredibly ignorant, i.e., a loyal Trump supporter, you’ll discover what I know now and have known since 1980: Trump will always say and do the wrong thing…he is without even a shred of decency.
Trump’s former personal lawyer, John Dowd, after conducting a failing mock interview with Trump in January, told Trump: "Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit.”
With regard to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, Trump told Secretary of Defence James Mattis "Let's f***ing kill him. Let's go in. Let’s kill the f***ing lot of them."
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly volunteered, “We're in Crazytown. I don't even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had.”
Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb Southerner” in a put-on Deep South accent.
Of course, the White House and Trump said the book merely reflects the rants of “disgruntled” former staffers and aides…or simply includes “made up” stories. Really? Woodward’s tapes say otherwise. Kelly is still there. Mattis is still there. Sessions is still there. The only person who has made up stories…the greatest pathological liar to ever live in the White House…is Donald J. Trump.
This sorry excuse for both a president and a human being lies like the rest of us breathe. He is a disgrace to the White House, a disgrace to America…and he sullies the Oval Office like no one ever has. Even Clinton’s inappropriate sexual escapades pale against Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanours…felonies?
I feel qualified to render a judgment about Trump and presidents. As I said, I’ve been in the Oval Office…it is a shrine to democracy. I’ve talked with real presidents of the United States…Carter, Ford, Clinton, Obama, and yes, Trump.
Trump is the only president I’ve met who wasn’t president when I met him. My introduction was in New York City in 1980. He said a couple of the strangest things I’ve ever heard any so-called businessman say….and I’ve never forgotten his words. He gave me and two others at a reception at The Plaza Hotel this sage advice: “The best thing about business is getting even,” and “never trust an employee, no matter what their title.”
Years later at Mar-a-Lago, I met him twice more. I was presiding over Chaine des Rotisseurs inductions - an international culinary society - for the Boca Raton, FL chapter. The organization reserved a suite each time at Mar-a-Lago…and I met Trump because he routinely waltzes in to any event there...private or not. He doesn’t remember most people, especially if you’re not famous or someone who grovels…so both times he introduced himself as though we’d never met.
A quick aside, some of the presidents I’ve met actually remembered me…even years later…like Carter and Clinton. Look, I’m not name dropping to impress anyone. I’m simply giving yet another insight…a supporting history that reflects what almost everyone who knows Trump understands…and certainly Bob Woodward knows. The man in the Oval Office today is the cruelest joke on democracy and America in 242 years.
Read Woodward’s book…and if you’re lucky…maybe you’ll meet someone who has spent time with Trump face to face. If you do, ask their honest impressions of Trump. Then, if you still support this guy...ask yourself, why? Really…why?
— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.
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