Woodward’s Humanity

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Woodward summarizes Kushner’s characterization of Trump in Chapter 33 of “Rage.” As follows:

“[…] on February 8, 2020, Kushner advised others on the four texts that he said someone in a quest to understand Trump needed to absorb. First, Kushner advised, go back and read a 2018 opinion column by The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Peggy Noonan. Her column on Trump said: “He’s crazy… and it’s kind of working. […] Kushner’s second recommendation for understanding Trump was, surprisingly, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. He paraphrased the cat: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there. […] The third text Kushner recommended for understanding the Trump presidency was Chris Whipple’s book The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency. In the book, Whipple concluded that, after the president, the chiefs of staff held the fate of the country in their hands. […] fourth text Kushner advised was necessary to understand Trump was Scott Adams’s book Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter. Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, explains in Win Bigly that Trump’s misstatements of fact are not regrettable errors or ethical lapses, but part of a technique called “intentional wrongness persuasion.”

And, back to Woodward commenting on Kushner in the same Chapter: ” “When combined, Kushner’s four texts painted President Trump as crazy, aimless, stubborn and manipulative. I could hardly believe anyone would recommend these as ways to understand their father-in-law, much less the president they believed in and served.”

Woodward’s Chapter 33 shows his humanity, on the one hand when he takes Kushner’s analysis seriously and examines it more closely and places it in a coherent picture of what Kushner (and Trump) understand as political reality (read the book for this) and on the other hand when he shows how surprised he is that Kushner finds that image acceptable.

Mr. Sum sees this as an example of how seeking insight into rule-led potential behavior does not necessarily lead to haggling the humanity of the researcher. Not even when his interpretation of reality leads to another truth. Lepore showed that there are more of these in the political playing field. Also in that of the US.