Donald Trump issuing a reading list is like Donald Trump issuing an aerobic exercise regimen. But then it is characteristic of Trump and family to pontificate from the vantage point of a depth they are entirely out of, from which depth “the Donald” is the family’s chief exponent of inexpertise on just about everything. It may in fact be said that Donald Trump is the world’s leading inexpert.
It is, for example, fascinating to listen to Donald Trump, self-promoted as a business “genius,” being instructed by his trade chief Robert Lighthizer, in front of a Chinese delegation no less, on what an MOU (Memo Of Understanding) is and is not. Trump gets it wrong, of course, despite a brief but lucid explanation by Lighthizer. One must admit that Mr. Lighthizer’s, ahem, final solution is ingenious: simply excise MOUs from the language of trade diplomacy. When Trump and reality come into conflict, the strategy goes, Trump lickspittles should just assume it’s reality that’s got it wrong.
So when it comes to picking a “reading” list (that is, a list of books Trump won’t read but wants others to read) it’s hardly surprising that, in the opinion of most of the writers of those books, reality keeps getting it wrong. Anyway, lets just say that the writings of the Dalai Lama are nowhere to be found on Trump’s reading list. It is, instead, a compendium of hate, misdirection, deception and laugh-out-loud invention. When it isn’t it just goes to show how truly inept are the people who assembled this list for the approval of Trump the Unread. And here it is:
First up, “The Faith of Donald J Trump: A Spiritual Biography,” by David Brody and Scott Lamb, wherein the considerable task of the authors is to convince the world that this thrice-married, tax-evading, hooker-hiring, lying, child-raping, criminal traitor is on a “spiritual journey.” Failing that, the authors conclude: “Clearly, God is using this man in ways millions of people could never imagine.” Or believe, I’d wager. Second is “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy,” by Stephen Moore and Arthur B Laffer PhD. Wherein the corpse of trickle down Reaganomics is reanimated Frankenstein-like and made to speak fluent gibberish yet again. The book gets away with it because, so far, thanks to the superb economy Trump inherited from Barack Obama, the current economy hasn’t crashed yet – despite Trump’s inept mishandling of it and a disastrous trade war with China, and thanks to the fact that America now has a new generation of fools to bamboozle with another tired retelling of how economics for rich white men is good for everyone.
Then there’s “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump,” by Gregg Jarrett. From the fiction category we have this Fox News “legal analyst” examining “Hillary Clinton’s deep state collaborators” who, he claims, include dismissed FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller.
And where would we be without Judge “I’m so clever I can do alliteration” Jeanine Piro’s, “Liars, Leakers and Liberals”? Yet another Fox News presenter offering yet another expose of “a conspiracy by the powerful and connected to overturn the will of the American people.” Who are these evil, will-subverting villains, you ask? Why, it’s the FBI, NSA, Pentagon, Hollywood, “fake news media”, Democratic party, Fisa courts and some “never-Trumper” Republicans, of course. Who else?
From the pen of the alt-right, not-so-bright, Breitbart writer we have “Why We Fight,” by Sebastian Gorka, who laments the usual threats to Judaeo-Christian civilization posed by the usual suspects, including jihadists, communists, China or “tomorrow’s unknown threat,” just in case he missed one.
Next is “The Case for Trump,” by Victor Davis Hanson, a crackpot conservative historian and regular Fox contributor who promises “the true story of how Donald Trump has become one of the most successful presidents in history – and why America needs him now more than ever.” Right.
Our next author, Gina Loudon, was caught by the Daily Beast claiming she has a PhD in psychology. She does not. She has a PhD in “human and organization systems” from an online correspondence school. So her “Mad Politics: Keeping Your Sanity in a World Gone Crazy,” suggesting Trump is part of that road to “sanity,” comes with fake credentials, unsurprising considering her conclusion, specifically, that Trump is “the most sound-minded person to ever occupy the White House.” Yes, she actually wrote that in a book she expects people to pay for. And she’s a self-described healer of people with mental problems.
While “Ship of Fools,” by Tucker Carlson, by rights should be about Fox News and not by someone from Fox News, amusingly Carlson refers to Trump as “vulgar and ignorant,” proving that Trump didn’t read this book either.
“The Great Revolt,” by Salena Zito and Brad Todd is a straightforward book analyzing, from the point of view of its two conservative authors, how Donald Trump managed to upset the odds. And finally Spicey is back, with, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President,” by Sean Spicer, another proof that Trump didn’t read any of the books he touts. Spicer is surprisingly forthcoming with anecdotes that frequently paint Trump in a bad light, including instances of outbursts, deranged tweet storms and multiple backstabbings.
As a lifelong and daily reader of actual books, I couldn’t stop laughing while examining this list. The effrontery that a man who never reads would recommend a reading list for people who do is beyond credence. That sixty-three million people voted for him only reminds me of how many idiots who don’t read there are in the world, and why reading and education are so important. Anyway, Trump’s list inspires me to compile a list of the great golf courses of the world because, hey, I’ve never played golf in my life.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.