An engrossing look at the Trump cabinet: the scandals, the incompetence, the assault on the federal government, the bungled attempts to impose order on an administration lost in a chaos of its own making. Donald Trump promised a return to national greatness, but each day of his presidency seems to bring a new crisis, a deepening sense of national unease. Why, and how, has he failed his supporters? And how has he, on occasion, bested his detractors? The Best People takes complete measure of the Trump administration, to grasp with clarity the president and his intentions, and how those intentions are being carried out-or subverted-by the people he has hired. Alexander Nazaryan argues that the "assault on the administrative state" promised by Steve Bannon in early 2017 never came. What the American people got instead was Wilbur Ross hauling his tennis pro to confirmation hearing preparations; Scott Pruitt running away from rattlesnakes; Reince Priebus enduring insults from junior White House staffers. And yet, bungling as Trump's cabinet members have been, they have managed to either damage or arrest many of the gears that make government run. They have given away public lands to oil companies and allowed corporate lobbyists to make decisions about what is best for the American people, and have done it all while flying on private jets and dining at the finest restaurants, at taxpayers' expense. Meticulously reported and enthrallingly told, The Best People takes readers inside the federal government under Trump's control, a government assailed by the very people charged to lead it, a government awash in confusion and corruption.
The Best People Review
- January 1, 1970DanI'm no fan of Donald Trump. I have grown to almost pathologically distrust almost all politicians, regardless of party, and I was born and raised in New York City, so I grew up knowing that he was a con-man. I spent years seeing Trump pop up on the local news every night, on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Howard Stern, inside WWE wrestling rings....To me, he was really nothing more than a harmless egomaniac who liked to be on TV and hear himself talk. Flash forward a few decades, and now I'm no fan of Donald Trump. I have grown to almost pathologically distrust almost all politicians, regardless of party, and I was born and raised in New York City, so I grew up knowing that he was a con-man. I spent years seeing Trump pop up on the local news every night, on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Howard Stern, inside WWE wrestling rings....To me, he was really nothing more than a harmless egomaniac who liked to be on TV and hear himself talk. Flash forward a few decades, and now he is the leader of the free world, a man who seems to spend most of his time vacationing, playing golf, and watching Fox News. And in the absence of leadership, he has given control of the country to men and women of similar background and desires: Millionaire and billionaire kleptocrats who have wasted no time in taking a sledgehammer to the institutions that we all assumed were carved in stone. Alexander Nazaryan's THE BEST PEOPLE: TRUMP'S CABINET AND THE SIEGE OF WASHINGTON, oddly enough, offers a relatively fair look at Trump's Royal tenure thus far. Nazaryan makes little or nothing of the Russia ties, conspiracy or collusion, the Mueller report, and all of the other scandals of the past few years, focusing instead on "The best people", the men and women that Trump staffed his Cabinet with. You can see them all right there on the front cover, wearing their "Let them eat cake!" grins: Ben Carson and his $31,000.00 dining room set that we bought for him; Steve "Creature from the Black Lagoon" Mnuchin, a man whose classmates said "..put the douche in fiduciary"; Ryan Zinke, an idiot who rode a horse to his first day at work as Secretary of the Interior, and spent the bulk of his short tenure gleefully auctioning off drilling rights to National Parks; Betsy DeVos, whose best argument for arming school employees was that there might be lurking grizzlies nearby. Nazaryan lays all of this graft and corruption out less like a book and more like an in-depth catalog of malfeasance, often glossing over bits of news that he seems to assume that you will know about already. Seeing as all of this is very recent, that's not an unfair assumption, but it will harm the readability of this book if you aren't already a die-hard follower of each day's events in Washington, and will definitely cause some head-scratching moments for readers in the years to come, assuming that we survive that long. I am reviewing an advance copy, so perhaps the book will be tightened up and those blanks will be filled in by the time it actually goes to press. Overall, this is hardly an entertaining book, but it is an alarming one, and one worth reading. No matter what side you're on politically, everyone should be able to agree that it is not OK to use the cover of 'Serving the American people" as an opportunity to enrich yourself and your friends on the backs of hundreds of millions of struggling taxpayers. I would love it if facts, cold hard FACTS, such as the ones presented in this book, were able to unify our fractured country against the TRUE "enemy of the people": The crooks, on both sides of the aisle, who are in charge. I won't hold my breath.more
- January 1, 1970DindyThe author makes no pretense of this being an objective, detached evaluation of Trump and his cabinet. Of course, many would say that it is an objective account, but one that properly communicates the disgust and condemnation that having such people in powerful positions SHOULD evoke. This attitude is plain from the beginning, as when in the Introduction he recounts the first Cabinet meeting, referring to the dubious retinue Trump had assembled. This book is not an objective journalistic report The author makes no pretense of this being an objective, detached evaluation of Trump and his cabinet. Of course, many would say that it is an objective account, but one that properly communicates the disgust and condemnation that having such people in powerful positions SHOULD evoke. This attitude is plain from the beginning, as when in the Introduction he recounts the first Cabinet meeting, referring to the dubious retinue Trump had assembled. This book is not an objective journalistic report but rather a running commentary. It is well-written, flows smoothly and is easy to read. I read an advanced review copy. I hope the final release includes a cast of characters since it discussed many people at a fast pace. The author, Alexander Nazaryan, is a Yahoo News national correspondent based in Washington, D.C., primarily covering domestic policy. He was previously a senior writer for Newsweek and, before that, a member of the New York Daily News editorial board. Much of the information in this book came from his own reporting. Nazaryan spends a lot of time discussing Trump’s style of governance, which is to pit people against each other. This is a fine technique for dealing with enemies but doesn't do much for a team environment. Trump's belief is that if his subordinates are fighting with each other, they are not conspiring against him. Pitting members of his staff against each other happens throughout the entire book and is detailed by going over infighting and conflicts. Much of this has already been put out by many other books and news reports, which begs the question: Do we really need yet another book analyzing the incompetence of Trump as president? This book, however, focuses on the rotating members of Trump’s team and provides a great deal of information about them and about the conflicting agendas by the different members of Trump’s staff. This is not to say that the book is all commentary. There is some very good information to go along with the commentary. For example, the comparisons of how the Presidents from Eisenhower to Trump set up and ran their cabinets is very interesting. It was also fascinating to read about the process in which the Presidential staff would try to get their nominees through the Senate confirmation hearings, something especially challenging for this administration and most of the nominees it provided. Overall, a good book. Thank you to Hachette Books for providing an Advanced Review copy to me in exchange for an honest review.more
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