Amid the breathless coverage of three new books about the Trump presidency, one thing has become clear. Behind the scenes at the Trump White House, things were not worse than we knew—we actually knew just how bad it was.
“There has been no detail that has come out that has been different than the four years we saw him do in office,” Slade Sohmer, editor in chief of The Recount, says on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.
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And Trump-era figures are working furiously to rehab their images. Exhibit A: Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who posed with President Trump in that notorious Lafayette Square photo-op, telling Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker he feared a “Reichstag moment” before the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Molly Jong-Fast can’t believe it. Six months later, that’s what the general has to say? “You were part of the Reichstag moment!” she says.
But no one knows image rehabilitation better than Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner—in fact, they’ve been doing it for years, Sohmer says. “‘Sources close to Jared and Ivanka say’ was the most used phrase in print of the Trump administration,” he adds.
Now comes news that Ivanka “didn’t want to go to Stop the Steal because she’s very concerned with her image, but she decides to go to support her dad. I mean, come on, man,” Molly says.
Ivanka “had trepidation about letting her father install himself as God king,” Molly quips.
Next guest Michael Wolff, author of the new book Landslide, his third about Trump, says it’s clear that some Trumpworld figures are trying to redeem themselves in the new Trump books.
“I don’t think that anybody is pleased,” he says of their post-Trump prospects. “I don’t think anyone finds themselves where they would otherwise have hoped they would be after working in a senior job in the White House.”
He also talks about getting the call to talk to the former president after being absolutely hammered by him for his previous books.
“Somebody called me up and invited me to come down to Mar-a-Lago, which was stunning to me, to say the least, but in its own way, I suppose, explicable,” he says. “What is Trump interested in? He’s interested in an audience... The audience might not be an audience necessarily partial to him. I don’t think that matters. It was just suddenly I’m going to write a bestselling book. So yeah, let’s talk to him.”
Wolff also talks about why Rupert Murdoch signed off on Fox News’ early call of Arizona for Joe Biden, what really drove Jeffrey Epstein and Trump apart, and whether Trump will run in 2024.
Last on the show is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who breaks down the chances for the massive infrastructure bill, whether the filibuster will survive, and more.