Front Row at the Trump Show

Jonathan Karl. Dutton, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-524745-62-2
ABC News correspondent Karl (The Right to Bear Arms) offers a blow-by-blow chronicle of Donald Trump’s path to the White House in this detailed yet disappointing account that concludes two months before impeachment. Though Karl credits Trump with “pulling off the greatest political upset in American history” and carefully notes that all presidents have “bitterly complained” about their press coverage, he condemns the Trump administration for waging a “war on truth” and “pour[ing] rocket fuel” on America’s political divisions. His litany of evidence includes a 2013 TV interview in which Trump refused to take the “golden opportunity” to walk back claims that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.; White House press secretary Sarah Sanders lying to reporters about air strikes against Syria; and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitting, in response to Karl’s question, that Ukrainian military aid had been withheld for political reasons, then denying the admission. Karl delivers a plethora of insider anecdotes, but his analysis of the administration’s impact on democratic norms feels shallow, and his tendency toward self-congratulation grates. (Is it really necessary to know that Anthony Scaramucci thought Karl’s exchange with Mulvaney over the Ukraine affair was “the question that saved America”?). Readers searching for headline-worthy insights into the Trump White House should look elsewhere. Agent: David Larabell, Creative Artists Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2020
Release date: 03/31/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 515 pages - 978-0-593-17160-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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