He reads not, neither does he skim

John Cassidy at the New Yorker does some more gleaning from Wolff’s book and tosses us the bits of chocolate and almond.

[T]he over-all portrait that Wolff draws of a dysfunctional, bitterly divided White House in the first six months of Trump’s Presidency, before the appointment of John Kelly as chief of staff and the subsequent firing of Bannon, has the whiff of authenticity about it—and it echoes news coverage at the time. Other details are impossible to confirm but damning if true. Such was the animosity between Bannon and “Jarvanka”—Bannon’s dismissive term for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner—Wolff reports, that, during one Oval Office meeting, Bannon called Ivanka “a fucking liar,” to which Trump responded,“I told you this is a tough town, baby.” Wolff also quotes Bannon commenting gleefully after Trump decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a decision that Ivanka opposed: “Score. The bitch is dead.”

Worst clubhouse ever.

Equally plausible is Wolff’s portrait of Trump as a one-dimensional figure who had no conception that he could win the 2016 election; little clue what to do after he did emerge victorious from the campaign trail; and virtually no interest in, or aptitude for, acquiring the skills and information needed to fulfill the role of President. “Here was, arguably, the central issue of the Trump presidency,” Wolff writes. The Commander-in-Chief “didn’t process information in any conventional sense—or, in a way, he didn’t process it at all.” He continues,

Trump didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. If it was print, it might as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate  . . . . Some thought him dyslexic; certainly his comprehension was limited. Others concluded that he didn’t read because he didn’t have to, and that in fact this was one of his key attributes as a populist. He was postliterate—total television.

But not only didn’t he read, he didn’t listen. He preferred to be the person talking. And he trusted his own expertise—no matter how paltry or irrelevant—more than anyone else’s. What’s more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of attention.

“He preferred to be the person talking” – yes of course he did. He appears to be profoundly bored by pretty much everything that isn’t himself. His is a narcissism that crowds out everything else.

There are revealing, unconfirmed new anecdotes, too, about Trump’s sexism and narcissism. In one meeting, Wolff says, the President referred to Hope Hicks, his communications director, as “a piece of tail.” In another meeting, he described Sally Yates, the former acting Attorney General, whom he fired early in his term, after she refused to defend his original travel ban, as “such a cunt.”

Tell us again that that word has nothing to do with misogyny.

6 Responses to “He reads not, neither does he skim”