Excerpts from a new book by an anonymous White House official titled “A Warning” released Thursday evening detailed the difficulties Trump’s staff encountered trying to brief him.
During “The Rachel Maddow Show,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow read excerpts from the upcoming book, which alluded to challenging characteristics of the president, such as “inattentiveness” and “impulsiveness” that had a “powerful impact on the people serving in the administration.” These characteristics, the author writes, manifested themselves when advisors and staffers would try to brief the president.
“A Warning,” was written by the same anonymous author that penned the New York Times op-ed last year titled, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”
Throughout all of the excerpts obtained by the host, the nameless author repeatedly brings up the “Steady State”, the group of White House officials that attempted “to keep the wheels from coming off.”
“A Warning” author also notes in the various shared pages that the when discussing matters of life and death, or particularly weighty matters, the president would not prepare himself for meetings. Briefers were told early on in the administration not to bring in lengthy memos because “Trump wouldn’t read them.”
The book also described the ways in which briefing material had to be simplified and broken down to a few points in a visual presentation.
“PowerPoint was preferred because [Trump] is a visual learner” recalls “A Warning” author.
But the whittling down of the briefing process didn’t stop there, according to the excerpts.
The author writes, “then officials were told that the PowerPoint decks needed to be slimmed down. The president couldn’t digest too many slides. He needed more images to keep his interest – and fewer words.”
Further still, briefers were told “to cut back the overall message (on complicated issues such as military readiness or the federal budget) to just three main points,” but even doing that “was still too much.”
Soon, the author notes, the best practice to briefing the president became “come in with one main point and repeat it – over and over again, even if the president inevitably goes off on tangents – until he gets it.”
When briefers did attempt to give Trump a traditional memo and it didn’t end well, the author writes.
“’What the f*** is this?’” the president would shout, looking at a document one of them handed him. ‘These are just words. A bunch of words. It doesn’t mean anything.’”
Continuing, the author completes their thought, writing “sometimes he would throw the papers back on the table. He definitely wouldn’t read them.”
The White house has condemned the book. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told The Hill in a statement that “the book is nothing but lies.”
The White House previously released a lengthier statement responding to The Washington Post’s article on the excerpts.
“Real authors reach out to their subjects to get things fact checked — but this person is in hiding, making that very basic part of being a real writer impossible. Reporters who choose to write about this farce should have the journalistic integrity to cover the book as what it is — a work of fiction,” she added in the statement to the Post.