If a Walk Down Memory Lane Had a Baby with American Horror Story: A Very Stable Genius

Originally published January 25, 2020

Interesting reading, in the midst of an impeachment trial.

With House managers and the president’s attorneys delivering opening arguments, I’ve spent free time the last few days curled up on the couch, hygge-style, with Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig’s bestseller, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America.”

The book is everything you expect it to be — well researched, in depth, somber and wildly upsetting. And when in the background from my television I can hear some Senators aghast at commentary suggesting their heads will be on pikes for any disloyalty to this president, the book also makes for a great brick to throw at said television.

Understanding that there are, at the moment, two reasons being discussed for removing President Trump from office, this book reminds us the the myriad reasons President Trump is just plain unfit. Anyone remember these classics?

  • Charlottesville
  • Shithole countries
  • The U.S./North Korean real estate propaganda video
  • The government shutdown
  • Congratulating Putin on his re-election
  • Rob Porter
  • Jared Kushner’s security clearance
  • The Boy Scout Jamboree debacle

And that’s just the high-profile stuff. Rucker and Leonnig add context and color to just about every hiring and firing over the last three years — and it’s a long list. Because the Mueller investigation takes up such a large chunk of Trump’s time in office to date, that event and its subsequent report sit in the driver’s seat for much of the book’s linear narrative. It was fascinating in many ways to understand some of the background machinations, of course, but honestly, pretty upsetting to read.

There are going to be more books, movies and documentaries down the road. Trump will get the fame he craves, regardless of whether or not he is re-elected. He’ll live to see the day where someone dons the signature hair and makeup and takes a turn in front of the camera. We’re stuck with him. So, if that’s the case, I’d recommend this book if only to get a more holistic look into his psyche and a more honest representation of the presidential history of these last three years. I’ve come away from it with a slightly better opinion of Rex Tillerson, who may be one of the few people that actually spoke truth to power. The others? I don’t know if I’ll ever understand.

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