A critical analysis of the style, rhetoric, and poor management style of President Donald Trump.
Disheartened by the results of the 2016 election and first two years of Trump’s presidency, debut author Elliott, a retired journalism professor at Indiana University centers his criticisms in this book less on the president’s policy, but rather on his acerbic rhetoric and personality. The author hails the styles of past Republican and Democratic presidents, but he asserts that Trump has denigrated the presidency through unethical behavior, “narcissistic flair, missteps, misstatement, and actions that do not reflect the country’s heritage or current needs.” Each chapter reads like an extended, well documented op-ed piece and focuses on a particular character flaw in the president, highlighting careless tweets, unethical conduct, and incompetent cabinet appointments of business cronies and family members. Elliott hopes that all readers, whatever their ideology, will recognize the president’s unprecedented behavior and, in the words of his hyperbolic subtitle, “Wake Up” before “Armageddon” occurs—defined as the “desecration of the principles on which our country was established.” Elliott devotes a closing chapter to journalists, imploring them to maintain their integrity as they report unethical behavior and highlight the myriad ways that Trump diverges from presidential norms. The author is uncompromising in his disdain for Trump, and he occasionally takes potshots at the president’s intelligence, but he also provides a cogent, levelheaded, and amply documented critique. However, he has a tendency to overplay metaphors, spending almost an entire chapter comparing Trump’s administration to The Wizard of Oz and multiple pages comparing the president’s campaign strategy to a game of chess. Although the author deliberately avoids discussing specific policy, left-leaning readers might argue that Trump’s personal failings pale beside his policies on immigration, abortion, and foreign affairs. Likewise, many on the right would hail the very rhetoric that Elliott condemns as a fresh break from an overly “politically correct” culture. An analysis of these sociopolitical forces, which extend well beyond Trump, would have been useful to contextualize his presidency.
A polemical but well-researched assessment of the 45th president.