Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House

Cliff Sims. Thomas Dunne, $29.99 (380p) ISBN 978-1-250-22389-0
According to this savvy, entertaining insider’s memoir, the Trump administration is, as advertised, a snake pit of betrayal and backstabbing. Sims, the ex-director of White House message strategy, worked closely with President Trump and had access to behind-closed-doors political dramas and up-close views of Trump’s magnetic personality and not-always-rational preoccupations. (On his first day, Sims drafted a—patently untrue, he later learned—PR case asserting that Trump’s inaugural crowd was bigger than Obama’s.) He paints the West Wing as “Game of Thrones, but with the characters from Veep,” with staffers jockeying for status through disruptive leaks, undermining rumors, and poisonous accusations. Sims’s evangelical moral qualms left him fretting that he was “forfeit[ing] his own soul” by participating in such intrigues, but he nonetheless revels in venomous sketches of rivals such as communications director Anthony Scaramucci (“drunk on the attention and adulation”), spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway (“a cartoon villain brought to life”), and chief of staff John Kelly (“vindictive, unhinged,” and “fully consumed by the darkness”). Sims’s vivid portrait of Trump shrewdly balances admiration with misgivings, and his intricate, engrossing accounts of White House vendettas and power plays have a good mix of immersion and perspective. The result is one of the best of the recent flood of Trump tell-alls. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 01/25/2019
Release date: 01/29/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-23818-4
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