One of President Donald Trump’s most widely ridiculed assertions is that he is a “very stable genius,” and that line is used in an ironic way in the title of the forthcoming Philip Rucker/Carol D. Leonnig book, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” — ironic because the book depicts Trump as being the opposite of stable during his time in the White House.
The Washington Post has obtained a copy of the 417-page book, which has a Tuesday, January 21 release date on Amazon — and according to the Post’s Ashley Parker, “A Very Stable Genius” is full of “vivid details from Trump’s tumultuous first three years as president, from his chaotic transition before the taking office to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and final report.”
Rucker and Leonnig reveal in their book that Trump toyed with the idea of awarding himself the Medal of Freedom. Yet when it came to foreign policy, Trump was “at times, dangerously uninformed,” according to the long-time Washington Post reporters.
For example, Rucker and Leonnig report, Trump didn’t appear to fully understand the importance of Pearl Harbor when the president and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were getting ready to privately tour the USS Arizona Memorial. Trump, according to Rucker and Leonnig, “had heard the phrase ‘Pearl Harbor’ and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of an historic battle, but he did not seem to know much else.”
When Trump met with Indian President Narendra Modi, according to Rucker and Leonnig, he told him, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.” But in fact, China is one of the countries India shares a border with.
Trump’s fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin is discussed in the book, and at one point, Trump declared himself to be more of an expert on Russia than former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who had extensive dealings with Putin during his years at Exxon.
Rucker and Leonnig write, “Tillerson’s years of negotiating with Putin and studying his moves on the chessboard were suddenly irrelevant. ‘I have had a two-hour meeting with Putin,’ Trump told Tillerson. ‘That’s all I need to know … I’ve sized it all up. I’ve got it.’”
“A Very Stable Genius,” Parker notes, is “based on hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 200 sources, corroborated, when possible, by calendars, diary entries, internal memos and even private video recordings. Trump himself had initially committed to an interview for the book, the authors write, but ultimately declined, amid an escalating war with the media.”
Some of the anecdotes in the book, according to Parker, are more amusing than disturbing. In 2018, for example, Trump met with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to discuss the possibility of Christie becoming the next White House chief of staff; Christie declined — and when Axios reported that the meeting had taken place, Christie wanted to know how the meeting had been leaked to the media. Only three people were present during the meeting: President Trump, Christie and First Lady Melania Trump.
“Oh, I did it,” President Trump revealed.