A new book written by Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners, paints a bleak picture of President Trump's mental and intellectual fitness for office. In a book review for the 417-page A Very Stable Genius published in The Washington Post this Wednesday, Ashley Parker highlights some eye-opening portions, one of which suggest Trump doesn't even know the basic history of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Trump had heard the phrase ‘Pearl Harbor’ and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of a historic battle, but he did not seem to know much else,” the book's authors wrote before quoting a former senior White House adviser who concludes: “He was at times dangerously uninformed.”
According to Parker, many of the book's key moments "are rife with foreign policy implications, portraying a novice commander in chief plowing through normal protocols and alarming many both inside the administration and in other governments."
Another portion details the newly-elected Trump's alleged eagerness to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. Trump was so eager, that "during the transition he interrupts an interview with one of his secretary of state candidates."
"When can I meet Putin?" Trump said according to the book's authors. "Can I meet with him before the inaugural ceremony?”
"[Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's] years of negotiating with Putin and studying his moves on the chessboard were suddenly irrelevant,” the authors wrote. "'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.'"
Parker says that the book suggests some inside Trump's inner circle are just as worried about his behavior as the administration's most vocal critics.
"At the Justice Department, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and other senior officials run through private fire drills in case Trump triggers a “Saturday night massacre” — an allusion to the series of resignations under President Richard M. Nixon following his order to his attorney general to fire the Watergate independent special prosecutor," Parker writes.
The book also alleges that Trump was "verbally and emotionally abusive" towards then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, accusing her of not doing enough when it came to illegal immigration.
"He made fun of her stature and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating," the book's authors wrote. "'She’s so short,' Trump would tell others about Nielsen. She and Kelly would try to make light of it. Kelly would rib her and say, 'But you’ve got those little fists of fury!'"
Read Parker's full book review over at The Washington Post.