Max de Haldevang Profile picture
Sep 11, 2018 34 tweets 14 min read
THREAD: Some notes and thoughts from reading "Fear" yesterday. Firstly, as @HeathaT points out, it pays to collaborate on these projects: Bannon, Porter and Cohn seem major sources and all come off pretty well.
Some anecdotes: When Bannon was first asked to chat to Trump about a presidential run in 2010, he replied: "I don't have time for fucking nonsense...this guy's not serious.
In the subsequent meeting, Trump is told it's a problem that history shows him to be "very pro-choice."
Trump's response: "What does that mean?"
He is told what pro-choice means.
"That can be fixed," he says. "You just tell me how to fix that. I'm—what do you call it? Pro-life."
A month and a half before the presidential debates, Roger Ailes described Trump debate-prep thusly, Woodward reports:
"He just comes and plays golf and we just talk about the campaign and stuff like that. But we're trying to get him in the habit." #Fear
After Access Hollywood dropped, Condoleezza Rice was lined up to be Pence's VP if Trump could be persuaded to pull out, Woodward reports. #Fear
Gary Cohn's first meeting with Trump showed just how crazy the operation was. Trump offered him 5 jobs, including Treasury Secretary RIGHT IN FRONT of Mnuchin, who had already been offered the job. Mnuchin promptly leaked that the job was his. qz.com/1385444/woodwa…
Woodward reports that Trump lies in phone calls with Gold Star families about what their dead loved-ones did in the military. #Fear
Mattis' strategy to make sure Trump listens to him: Don't mention immigration or the press. If you do he'll "go off on a tangent and not come back for a long time," Woodward writes. #Fear
Lindsey Graham is a fascinating character in—and probable source for—the book; a constant presence who has Trump's ear on foreign policy. When he worries about Afghanistan, Trump has the ingenious idea of offering Graham the ambassadorship. It doesn't work. #Fear
A Kushner quote fuels suspicion about Trump's finances. Trump Org claims to have spent hundreds of millions in cash on recent projects, but Kushner tells Bannon during the campaign: "He doesn't have a lot of cash."
qz.com/1385438/in-bob…
Bannon tells Kushner they urgently need $50m to buy TV ads. Kushner says maybe they can get Trump to pay $25m. Trump: "No way. Fuck that. I'm not doing it."

Eventually, they persuade him to *loan* the campaign $10m—just three weeks before the election.
qz.com/1385438/in-bob…
Given this lack of liquidity, you have to ask—where the hell is Trump Org getting the cash to spend $200m building a small town in rural Scotland? qz.com/1341021/where-…
Woodward unearths Trump's advice to a friend on sex scandals: "You've got to deny, deny, deny." Where have we heard that before? #Fear qz.com/1386161/bob-wo…
Mattis kept refusing to go on TV supporting the administration. When he gets sick of Spicer badgering him, he says:
"Sean, I've killed people for living. If you call me again, I'm going to fucking send you to Afghanistan. Are we clear?"
#Fear
Lots of painstaking anecdotes of Cohn trying to explain economics to Trump, only for Navarro to come in spouting nonsense. "The problem," Cohn said. "Is that Peter comes in here and says all this stuff and doesn't have any facts to back it up. I have the facts."
Arguments over trade get so intense, with so little agreement, that Priebus randomly picks Rob Porter to start coordinating trade policy.
It does't seem like Javanka spoke to Woodward, and they don't come out glowing. Bannon "was 10 times the unifier that Jared and Ivanka were."
When Trump inexplicably refuses to host crucial ally Indian PM Modi at Camp David, McMaster loses his shit. "What the fuck? It's India, man. It's fucking India."
Rob Porter—who lost his job for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife—is portrayed as a master at slowing worrisome ideas thru bureaucratic process. He slows China tariffs by weeks, insisting that Mattis has to analyze security issues, infuriating Ross. #Fear
At one point he seems to save NAFTA by getting agriculture sec Sonny Perdue to explain that it would ruin Trump-voting farmers in swing states.
Bannon seems to suggest Trump was obstructing justice by firing Comey: He believed "100 percent" that Trump did it because the FBI was after Jared Kushner's financial records.
Vivid account of Trump "visibly disturbed" by Mueller appointment.
Trump says Mueller investigation really interferes with foreign affairs. It's "like a kick in the nuts," when foreign leaders bring it up, as they wonder if it's worth making deals with Trump.
Among the documents Porter took off Trump's desk: A statement withdrawing from Paris agreement, which Bannon and Pruitt snuck into the Oval office to give him. (Trump eventually announced withdrawal anyway.)
While complaining about transgender soldiers, Trump refers to gender confirmation surgery thusly:
"What the fuck? They're coming in here, they're getting clipped."
One thing Trump does study—his tweets. He ordered printouts of ones with 200K+ likes to find common themes. "The most effective tweets were often the most shocking," Woodward writes. #Fear
Australia managed to win a steel tariff exemption from Trump by reminding him the US has a $40bn trade surplus with them.
When editing a speech, Trump scribbles: "TRADE IS BAD."

"He had finally found the summarizing phrase and truest expression of his protectionism, isolationism and fervent American nationalism," Woodward writes. #Fear
Sessions (and maybe Bannon) believes Trump's victory was "the hand of God."
Trump's grand plan on Afghanistan: "You should be killings guys. You don't need a strategy to kill people."
#Fear
See this thread (and story) for more details on crazy Trump Org financial escapades.
At one point, McMaster and intelligence agencies know that Trump has "clearly" tweeted Russian propaganda.
When Priebus is fired by tweet (having agreed a smooth exit with Trump minutes earlier), he rationalizes it by reflecting Trump has the following traits, commonly attributed to psychopaths:
"The president has zero psychological ability to recognize empathy or pity in any way."
As an aside, while excellent reporting, Fear's cover design is one of many anxiety-inducing Trump books qz.com/quartzy/137643…

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More from @MddeH

Aug 30, 2018
THREAD: Last month, the Trump Organization announced it was spending $200m to build what's basically a small town next to his golf course in rural Scotland. It's very weird, for the following reasons:
qz.com/1341021/where-…
1. They claim they're paying for it in cash. It's really difficult to work out where they got that money.
2. The most thorough analysis of the Trump Org (by WSJ in 2016) suggested it made $160m pre-tax over 18 months from jan. 2014. That means the project=nearly two years of revenue. The Trumps reject these figures but have never said where else they're making money.
Read 14 tweets

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