cover image The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017–2021

The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017–2021

Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. Doubleday, $32 (752p) ISBN 978-0-385-54653-9

Married journalists Baker and Glasser follow up The Man Who Ran Washington with a comprehensive and scathing chronicle of the Trump administration. Contending that the January 6 Capitol riot was “the culmination of a sustained, four-year war on the institutions and traditions of American democracy,” the authors deliver a blow-by-blow account of that assault as it unfolded. Familiar themes emerge: a White House riven by rivalries and factions from day one (Reince Priebus v. Steve Bannon; Kellyanne Conway v. everybody); an astonishingly ill-informed and erratic president constrained by an “Axis of Adults” (whose own “pettiness... suggested a middle school cafeteria”); the “unique symbiosis” between Fox News and Trump; Republican lawmakers and conservative activists swallowing their distaste for the president in order to advance their own agendas. But Baker and Glasser, enriching their own reporting with the juiciest material from the slew of books about the Trump presidency, fashion a coherent narrative out of the chaos, offering lucid and insightful accounts of the Muslim travel ban, talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the Mueller investigation, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, both impeachment trials, and more. There’s also plenty of color, including a “pumped up” Trump “sucking down Diet Cokes and chomping on a Hershey’s chocolate bar” as he awaited the reaction to FBI director James Comey’s firing. The result is the most encyclopedic account of the Trump presidency yet published. (Sept.)