cover image Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency

Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency

Michael Wolff. Holt, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-83001-2

Efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results were more of a chaotic “shit show” than a coordinated “Big Lie,” according to this colorful if myopic account of the months leading up to Donald Trump’s exit from the White House. In his third book about the Trump presidency (after Fire and Fury and Siege), journalist Wolff paints a scathing portrait of campaign staffers too fearful of Trump’s ire to deliver actual poll results, a conspiracy-minded president wavering between overconfidence and deep suspicions that Democrats were rigging the election against him, and a motley collection of congressional “Dead Enders” (Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan) and oft-inebriated supporting players (Rudy Giuliani, Jeanine Pirro) willing to undermine democracy for a turn in the spotlight. Wolff traces the idea that Vice President Mike Pence could reject the election results and certify Trump as the winner to conservative constitutional lawyer John Eastman, who dismissed his own theory as “not likely,” and depicts a one-on-one meeting, on the eve of the January 6 Capitol riot, where Trump pushed Pence to take action (“Do you want to be a patriot or a pussy?”). But while Wolff’s anecdotes astound, he fails to put these events in a larger context, leaving the question of why Trump’s “ham-handed” disinformation campaign convinced so many Americans unanswered. The result is a dismaying yet unenlightening rehash of recent events. (July)