President Donald Trump would be wise to back down away from his objections to the tell-all book about to be published by his former National Security Advisor, John Bolton.
Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled to finally be released by Simon & Schuster next week, after its original March publication date was twice delayed. The book’s publisher has promised bombshell revelations, including impeachment-level offenses by Trump, and allegations that Ukraine was just the tip of the iceberg. Bolton charges in the book that Trump was only concerned with his re-election.
Just hours after sources told ABC News on Monday that Trump would likely file a lawsuit in an effort to block the book’s release, the president appeared beside his attorney general, William Barr, where he hinted of legal troubles for Bolton.
“If he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think you would have criminal problems. I hope so,” Trump said, while Barr added that the Justice Department is looking into whether Bolton had undergone the proper vetting process — required by law — to be sure no classified material was included in the book.
Trump would be wise to back down. This is his ultimate weakness. He’s such a narcissist with an inferiority complex so overwhelming that he cannot tolerate someone who dares to dis him. That makes Bolton the current Public Enemy No. 1 — a far greater threat to Trump than the coronavirus or the liberal mayors of cities like Minneapolis or Seattle or Atlanta or even Nancy Pelosi.
But public polling has long since suggested that Americans have tired of Trump’s attack dog mentality. Every time he opens his mouth, he’s slipping further behind his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. And in Bolton he will likely meet a worthy adversary.
Bolton had a stellar reputation long before he came on board as Trump’s third National Security Advisor. If he has authored a book, you can bet it’s been done by the letter — with every I dotted and every T crossed. It’s unthinkable that Bolton is going to allow himself to run afoul of the law on this.
And Trump, he’s going to emerge with egg on his face — just as he has on seemingly every issue in recent weeks. These are perilous times for Trump’s re-election hopes. There are polls showing that Biden is as much as 14 points ahead, and Democratic voters are out-pacing Republican voters in Georgia, which should be a safe state for Trump.
At this point, Trump has the look of a desperate, caged tiger. From his silly demand that CNN apologize for a poll showing Biden well ahead in the race to his equally silly demand that a CNN reporter apologize for an interview conducted with a member of his team, Trump isn’t winning the PR game right now. An effort to censor a book that reflects poorly on him isn’t going to help.
There has been a lot of talk in recent days of the Silent Majority. I can buy that. I’ve heard whispers from a few friends who don’t like Trump that the violent protests and the related advocacy of the mainstream media are going to push them into voting for him in November. Yet, they’re afraid to speak up because they’re afraid they’ll be labeled racists.
But while some Republicans are apparently confident that Trump is headed for a landslide win in November because of this Silent Majority, it’s going to wind up being a landslide win for Biden if Trump isn’t careful. It’s not inconceivable that this could be a blowout on the same scale as Ronald Reagan’s victory over Jimmy Carter in 1980.
The Democrats are throwing Trump all kinds of lifelines — from the persistent shutdowns in cities and states controlled by the left to the violent protests to Biden’s endless supply of gaffes and questionable mental fortitude to handle the high office of the presidency, Trump could strike the right tone and stroll into re-election.
Obviously that’s not going to happen. A tiger doesn’t change his stripes. Trump has been at this game for six years now (and he spent years before that building up to it). He is what he is, Republicans have got what they have got, and that’s not going to change. But he’d be wise to at least pick his battles.
And this isn’t a battle he’s going to win.