— This Is Punk Rock Time (@PunkRockTime) July 15, 2020
The memoir about life in the Trump family and its effects on the psyche of the current commander in chief sold 950,000 copies through Tuesday, the book’s first day of sales. https://t.co/KgYy6tmIBG
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 16, 2020
That’s gotta chafe the Oval Office Occupant’s flabby arse.
From everything I have seen, the book tells a real-life version of Frankenstein: Fred Trump, egomaniac, wanted a more powerful version of himself. He failed with his namesake eldest son*, but succeeded — all too well — with young Donald. He’s a patchwork android, is Donny, forever gnawed by the dim understanding that he’s missing some vital spark of humanity which makes him a horror to the ‘normal’ world, smashing everything he can in a fruitless search for vengeance…
*(Remember Ivanna saying The Donald wasn’t sure about naming their first son after himself? ‘But what if he’s a loser?’)
Interesting review from Dahlia Lithwick, at Slate:
… At bottom, Too Much and Never Enough may be the first book that stipulates, in its first pages, that the president is irreparably damaged, and then turns a clinician’s lens on the rest of us, the voters, the enablers, the flatterers, the hangers-on, and the worshippers. It is here that Mary Trump’s book makes perhaps the most enduring contribution to the teetering piles of books that have offered too little too late, even while telling us that which we already knew. Because Mary Trump begins from the assumption that other analysis tends to end with: Donald Trump is lethally dangerous, stunningly incoherent, and pathologically incapable of caring about anyone but himself. So, what Mary Trump wants to know is: What the hell is wrong with everyone around him? As she writes in her prologue, “there’s been very little effort to understand not only why he became what he is but how he’s consistently failed up despite his glaring lack of fitness.”
The book is thus actually styled as an indictment not of Donald Trump but of Trump’s enablers. The epigraph is from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, and it’s emphatically not about Donald John Trump at all: “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.” Mary Trump blames Fred Trump for Donald Trump’s pathology, although she doesn’t claim that her uncle is a tragic victim of abuse. She blames his family that propped him up (also her family, it should be noted), and then in concentric and expanding circles, the media that failed to scrutinize him, the banks that pretended he was the financial genius he was not, the Republican Party, and the “claque of loyalists” in the White House who continue to lie for him and to him in order to feed his insatiable ego and self-delusion. Even the phrase “too much and never enough” is perhaps deliberately borrowed from the language of addiction, and what Mary Trump describes here is not just her uncle’s addiction to adulation, fame, money, and success, but a nation’s—or some part of a nation’s—unfathomable addiction to him.…
The section of the book that has garnered the most attention is likely Mary’s claim that Trump cannot be evaluated for pathologies because he is “in the West Wing, essentially institutionalized” and that he has in fact “been institutionalized for most of his adult life. So there is no way to know how he would thrive, or even survive, on his own in the real world.” We are not used to seeing entities like the White House described in this way—a “very expensive and well-guarded padded cell”—as a means of protection for the broken man inside rather than as a platform from which a leader can change the world. And her ultimate point is that even a shattered psyche, buffered from the real world, can still do irreparable damage to it. But the most interesting assessments she offers are reserved for those inside the “institutions,” the people who might have saved us and certainly have not, from the nuclear family, to the Trump businesses, to New York’s bankers and powerful elites, to Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, and Jared Kushner. They all knew and know that the emperor has no clothes, even as they devote their last shreds of dignity to effusive praise of his ermine trim and jaunty crown.
Mary Trump seems to answer the question of why they do this in a section late in the book about Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump. In describing Fred’s growing realizing that his fair-haired boy, Donald, was a fraud, Mary explains that, yes, Fred himself was a master at fattening his wallet with taxpayer funds, committing tax fraud to benefit his children. (Mary admits she was the one who leaked the family tax information to the New York Times in 2018 for its blockbuster story.) But as it became clear that Donald had no real business acumen—as his Atlantic City casinos cratered and his father unlawfully poured secret funds into saving them—Mary realized that Fred also depended on the glittery tabloid success at which Donald excelled. Fred continued to prop up his son’s smoke-and-mirrors empire because, as Mary writes, “Fred had become so invested in the fantasy of Donald’s success that he and Donald were inextricably linked. Facing reality would have required acknowledging his own responsibility, which he would never do. He had gone all in, and although any rational person would have folded, Fred was determined to double down.” …
…[W]hat she reveals is a devastating indictment of all the alleged adults who stick around Donald Trump, who came together to fail America, to leave vulnerable populations to fend for themselves, and who continue to lie and spin to pacify his ego. They do it because they can’t admit the payoff is never coming, and to save themselves from the embarrassment of having to admit they were catastrophically wrong.
I don’t know if anyone else remembers Kitty Kelley’s unauthorized biography of Nancy Reagan, which was basically the story of two badly damaged child-abuse victims bonding in a folie a deux that would eventually take them to the White House. The media kept telling us that the Reagans would bring “glamor” back to the White House — that we were entitled to Ronnie’s “sunny optimism” (i.e., pathological indifference to human suffering) after four years of boring, workaholic Jimmy Carter.
Donald Trump is the straight-to-streaming, half-arsed reboot of that franchise. Behold: Descending on their golden escalator, a reality-show “star” and his sullen trophy wife! No more Democrat guilt-inducing lectures about inequality and climate change; instead, media-friendly hijinks with an ‘unpredictable’ would-be dictator and his gang of laughable incompetents!
One last trip to the public trough, before the Republican party and its media enablers collapse completely…
So I reviewed the Mary Trump book: https://t.co/VBRXrE4qYZ
But like with any review, there are things I didn't have space or time to discuss, stuff that is interesting but not vital to include in the review. So I'm going to run through the book and point out some stuff. Thread…
— Carlos Lozada (@CarlosLozadaWP) July 10, 2020
“Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Mitch McConnell, all of whom bear more than a passing psychological resemblance to Fred”
— #ModSquad? Melanie (@Lonestarmomcom) July 16, 2020
Welcome to Story Hour.
What will we be reading? Excerpts from Mary Trump’s new book, ‘Too Much and Never Enough,’ of course.
See you tomorrow at 8p EST for episode 2. pic.twitter.com/AMTxdy6e1m
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 16, 2020