No more literature has ever been taken down to pen about a U.S. president more than the notorious Mr. Donald Trump, I believe. The book “Peril” by Pulitzer-winning journalist Bob Woodward as well as Robert Costa will hit shelves this coming Tuesday. Based on more than 200 interviews, this new book sheds light on the last few months of Trump’s presidency as well as Biden’s transitional period. Yes, Bob Woodward is the very journalist who exposed the Watergate Scandal that led to the resignation of U.S. President Edward Nixon in 1974.
“Peril” is Woodward’s third book of which Trump is the leading actor. His first, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” was published in 2018; and “Rage,” its sequel for all intents and purposes was released in 2020. Fear, Rage, and Peril could be branded as the “Trump Trilogy.” Even their titles proffer clues as to their content. I must point out that books about Trump usually become bestsellers.
According to the American media, one of the scathing claims made in “Peril” is that Trump was preparing to wage war against China after he lost the elections. In the book, it is stated that Beijing had intelligence that Trump considered waging war on China to extend his presidential term. Yet another striking claim is that U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng to tell him that the U.S. had no intention of lashing out at China, and that even if Trump gave the order for a nuclear attack that Beijing would be notified of it beforehand. General Milley also told officers at the National Military Command Center to not take orders without his involvement.
Trump, for his part, denies the accusation and says he never considered attacking China. The ex-president and many Republic senators believe that Milley should be tried for treason if what is written is true. Current U.S. President Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have declared that they have full confidence in Milley. In the statement made by Milley's office, it was emphasized that the meetings with his Chinese counterpart took place routinely within the scope of their duties and responsibilities.
Reaching the conclusion that Trump was down in the dumps after losing the presidential elections, the book says that Milley sent messages to the leaders of many countries, primarily the U.K. and Russia, guaranteeing that the U.S. government was under control. On a different note, Milley says he could go into more detail on the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and its chaotic evacuation processes later this month at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Another little nugget in the book is about one of the Republican Party’s mainstream leaders, Paul Ryan. When Trump was elected president, Ryan was the speaker of the House of Representatives. After being elected speaker at 45 years old, Ryan was among the rising stars of the party. However, a rich donor of the Republican Party rung up Ryan, warning him of Trump’s “narcissist” temperament. Ryan, for his part, spent days assessing the reports sent to him on this subject and was finally persuaded. He became one of those rare Republicans openly opposing Trump in the U.S. Congress, however, he threw in the towel in 2018 and stopped actively participating in politics. In short, he was no match for Trump.
The many books written on Trump are not just about his term as president. Trump is perceived as the gravedigger of the governing tradition based on a bipartisan consensus. In this context, we can offer up Pulitzer-prize-winning Spencer Ackerman’s book, “Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump,” published in August 2021. According to Ackerman, the policies of the so-called global war against terror and the “endless wars” have clipped the wings of American democracy. Ackerman argues that these conditions facilitated Trump's rise to power who is highlighted as an element of disaster.
Despite losing the presidential elections in 2020, Trump retains his influence over the Republican Party. It is considered a done deal that either Trump himself or someone he approves will be the eventual candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. Finally, it should be noted that the increase in the number of books written about him, even though it has only been 8 months since he left the White House, is attributed to concerns that Trump will preserve his position as an influential figure in the future of American politics.