Team of Vipers
The first honest insider’s account of the Trump administration. After standing at Donald Trump’s side on Election Night, Cliff Sims joined him in the West Wing as Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Message Strategy.He soon found himself pulled into the President’s inner circle as a confidante, an errand boy, an advisor, a punching bag, and a friend. Sometimes all in the same conversation.As a result, Sims gained unprecedented access to the President, sitting in on private meetings with key Congressional officials, world leaders, and top White House advisors. He saw how Trump handled the challenges of the office, and he learned from Trump himself how he saw the world.For five hundred days, Sims also witnessed first-hand the infighting and leaking, the anger, joy, and recriminations. He had a role in some of the President’s biggest successes, and he shared the blame for some of his administration’s worst disasters. He gained key, often surprising insights into the players of the Trump West Wing, from Jared Kushner and John Kelly to Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.He even helped Trump craft his enemies list, knowing who was loyal and who was not. And he took notes. Hundreds of pages of notes. In real-time.Sims stood with the President in the eye of the storm raging around him, and now he tells the story that no one else has written—because no one else could. The story of what it was really like in the West Wing as a member of the President’s team. The story of power and palace intrigue, backstabbing and bold victories, as well as painful moral compromises, occasionally with yourself.Team of Vipers tells the full story, as only a true insider could.

Team of Vipers Details

TitleTeam of Vipers
Author
ReleaseJan 29th, 2019
PublisherThomas Dunne Books
Rating
GenrePolitics, Nonfiction, Biography Memoir

Team of Vipers Review

  • Manny
    January 1, 1970
    This just in: everyone hates Donald Trump. Well, who'd a thunk it?
  • Nandakishore Varma
    January 1, 1970
    No, I have not read it - gave it five stars just to compensate for one-star reviews by idiot right-wingers.But I have a problem with the title. It should be: CAUCUS OF CLOWNS.
  • Eleriel
    January 1, 1970
    Not even interested in reading this... I'm just giving it 5 stars to balance the vote of the idiots who put 1 and 2 even before the book is out.(will delete once real reviews start coming up)
  • Wendelle So
    January 1, 1970
    I honestly don't think I can recommend giving this book your money, especially if you're a liberal/progressive spending on this solely to ratchet its standing up the bestseller lists as a symbolic up-yours to Trump. The author is in most ways still a Trump sympathizer, looking to make Trump look good. I disagree with a lot of his conclusions about the personality of the President. For example, at one point he says Trump's core personality trait is having 'Strong opinions, weakly held', which mea I honestly don't think I can recommend giving this book your money, especially if you're a liberal/progressive spending on this solely to ratchet its standing up the bestseller lists as a symbolic up-yours to Trump. The author is in most ways still a Trump sympathizer, looking to make Trump look good. I disagree with a lot of his conclusions about the personality of the President. For example, at one point he says Trump's core personality trait is having 'Strong opinions, weakly held', which meant he was flexible on a lot of issues once he has heard the available information, in contrast, the author says, to genuine flip-floppers among professional politicians who adjust their political opinions based on popularity polls. The danger is that an ambivalent reader might find this sounds convincing, when actually it is not, and Trump is actually folksy charming, when he is not. First, he does hold rigid positions outside of trade and immigration, like on his ignorance on climate change. Second, he does flip-flop based on his popularity with his base, which is why he makes decisions that concur with what makes Ann Coulter or Fox&Friends happy. Third, he doesn't really read contrary information, like his daily briefings, or the IPCC climate report summary. Fourth, we really have to stop with this overwhelming fallacy where Trump is overall 'genuine' and opposing politicians are 'flpfloppers'. Oftentimes these are stereotypes that are not true and makes strawmen concerns that should not exist.He threw in a lot of explanations (expiations?) and rationalizations for Trump like this. Another example: he says, why does Trump lie a lot, especially with his inauguration's attendance numbers? The author both refers back to Trump's book that takes braggadocio as an innocent method to make others dream big like you do. Furthermore, all the hyperbolic lying makes the media scramble to correct it, which only keeps him in the news. But the author doesn't attempt to condemn this.This book doesn't even serve the pleasure of being written well, like 'Fire and Fury's flowery language. It's truly just drudge of the lowest order, where the author happily boasts that he and Hope Hicks are on such close texting terms that he only has to type a diamond emoji in place of her name in his contacts list. Yes he spends nearly a paragraph on this. The author's background is in tabloid journalism. Remember, he had the favor of Steve Bannon. According to his own book, he says he was among the responsible for writing the lies that went into the speeches of Trump and Sean Spicer. If asked I would say borrow this book instead of paying for it.
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  • Joe Conley
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, pretty fucking boring. Sims, as you may know, is a fan of Trump. He spends some time rationalizing this at the beginning of the book, admitting he doesn't agree with Trump on a lot of things because Sims is a conservative with strong Christian values, but then admitting that none of that really matters because Trump is lightyears better than the devil incarnate, Hillary Clinton. Most of the book is then spent offering increasingly insincere excuses for Trump's various gaffes and just ig Overall, pretty fucking boring. Sims, as you may know, is a fan of Trump. He spends some time rationalizing this at the beginning of the book, admitting he doesn't agree with Trump on a lot of things because Sims is a conservative with strong Christian values, but then admitting that none of that really matters because Trump is lightyears better than the devil incarnate, Hillary Clinton. Most of the book is then spent offering increasingly insincere excuses for Trump's various gaffes and just ignoring the others, while spending way too much time talking about the bickering and infighting within the White House which has already been reported on previously and better by others. It's kind've like Sims read Fire and Fury and Fear by Wolff and Woodward, respectively, and decided to relay the same events from his own perspective without offering justification or insight. If you're hoping for any truly juicy drama or insights about the Russia investigation, forget it. Robert Mueller is mentioned exactly once - in a offhand way to take a swipe at Michael Wolff - and Jeff Sessions can't make an appearance without Sims fawning over what a deeply moral and courageous individual he is - a man he verbally fellates only second to Trump himself. But probably the best summary of the entire book is how he handles James Comey's firing, which, needless to say, directly led to the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller. Keep in mind that Sims here is the DIRECTOR OF WHITE HOUSE MESSAGE STRATEGY. Like everyone else, he's blindsided when the firing happens, but he quickly whips up some basic Republican talking points to support the firing, and later tells Trump directly that Trump should trust his instincts.So what happens after Trump's interview with Lester Holt where he directly contradicts the official story a mere two days later? What did the White House do? What did their Director of Message Strategy think about that? Well, we have no idea, since he immediately skips past it and never mentions it again for the entire rest of the book. Turns out that much like Steve Bannon, Cliff Sims is also trying to suck his own cock.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    Cliff Sims is a 20-something wonderkind from Alabama, where he was the CEO of a media company. In 2016, he had broken the story - complete with audio tapes - of the affair the state's governor, Robert Bentley had been having with his (much younger) assistant, Rebekah Mason. Bentley ultimately resigned/was pushed out of office. About the same time, Sims had had a radio interview with then-candidate Donald Trump that had gone well. A little later, he evinced interest in working for the Trump-for-P Cliff Sims is a 20-something wonderkind from Alabama, where he was the CEO of a media company. In 2016, he had broken the story - complete with audio tapes - of the affair the state's governor, Robert Bentley had been having with his (much younger) assistant, Rebekah Mason. Bentley ultimately resigned/was pushed out of office. About the same time, Sims had had a radio interview with then-candidate Donald Trump that had gone well. A little later, he evinced interest in working for the Trump-for-President campaign, and an old friend, Senator Jeff Sessions, got him a job in the Trump campaign communications department. Sims moved to New York, where he worked for the campaign and then with the White House. This book, "Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House", is a story of his work with both the campaign and his time at the White House.I haven't read many of the books which have come out since Donald Trump was inaugurated. I did buy the Woodward book last fall, but have not been interested enough - after all, we are living it - to buy anything more, til I saw this book. It's the story about Cliff Sims, the son and grandson of Alabama preachers, who build up a quasi-media empire in Alabama and ran with the big dogs of state politics. A conservative, who believed in the Republican mantras, Sims is a sophisticated young man who seemed to fit in to the Trump campaign mojo and moved to the White House, looking for more. He worked closely with the White House Communications department and left after about 18 months of service. How he was able to rationalise the work he was doing for the man who he was doing it for, while maintaining his basic morality, is the subtext to his book. The main text was, of course, the weirdness and bizarre actions of the Trump White House.Cliff Sims is a good writer. He knows how to tell his story as he lived it, in plain terms. Sims doesn't stint on the details about the president and his staff, yet I was left with the feeling that Sims actually liked Donald Trump. And maybe even understood him a little. This is a good book.
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  • Lina
    January 1, 1970
    Saw the interview with Cliff Sims on Morning Joe. He comes off as genuine and has a very interesting point of view. I just want to understand the persona that Trump puts out and the machine behind it.
  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    Ex-Trump staffer’s book describes 'Team of Vipers’
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I'm no fan of Trump. My thoughts about the book are, inevitably, colored by that. The book is fun to read and a quick read, packed with anecdotes and the author's take on the WH personalities. It is by far the most flattering take on the current WH that I've seen, and the author's attempts to put some of these characters in a kindly or sympathetic light are heroic. He clearly has drunk the Kool-Aid and is a True Believer in the Republican platform.His whitewashing of the vile natur First of all, I'm no fan of Trump. My thoughts about the book are, inevitably, colored by that. The book is fun to read and a quick read, packed with anecdotes and the author's take on the WH personalities. It is by far the most flattering take on the current WH that I've seen, and the author's attempts to put some of these characters in a kindly or sympathetic light are heroic. He clearly has drunk the Kool-Aid and is a True Believer in the Republican platform.His whitewashing of the vile nature of DT and his acolytes, however, simply defies reason. All of the quotes he attributes to DT must be right off of the scripts that he and others wrote, but they bear little to no resemblance to what we've all heard come out of DT's mouth. Remember, for example, John Kelly's shameful attacks on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, following the deaths of 4 US troops in Niger? Well, according to Sims, Kelly was right about that and Wilson was using the tragedy to try to embarrass the WH. Really? Because almost nobody else had that take on it. Also, you can tell that Sims was so dazzled by Melania, Ivanka, Hope Hicks, and other women that he found attractive, that he thought everything they did and said was amazing, effective, and spot-on. While he did criticize Kelly later in the book, beginning with the Rob Porter mess, it seems as though Sims disliked Kelly more for personal reasons, including Kelly's attempt to discipline him for being a "troublemaker" of sorts. His admiration for Trump seems to be utterly devoid of any attempt to place ultimate accountability for the viperous climate within the WH. Never does he describe or even allude to the extreme narcissism and petulance that's readily apparent to any casual observer of Trump. Hre seems utterly oblivious to the very real pain and suffering caused by Trump's idiotic actions, reactions, gaffes, and blunders, beyond the petty hurt feelings and backbiting within the snake pit.With all that said, if you want to read a fluffy and interesting story of what Sims experienced at the WH, dive in. Just don't expect any hard looks at the damage and destruction that happens as a result of the middle-school mean girl crap that happens.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A REVIEW FROM SOMEONE WHO'S ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK!I pre-ordered this, and pretty much devoured it over the course of last night and this morning (allowing for a few hours of sleep). I wanted to read the tell all written by someone who supports Trump and his platform, and was willing to be honest about his experiences no matter how that honesty might be interpreted. Reading Team of Vipers was difficult, primarily because I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, like people making excuses to the A REVIEW FROM SOMEONE WHO'S ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK!I pre-ordered this, and pretty much devoured it over the course of last night and this morning (allowing for a few hours of sleep). I wanted to read the tell all written by someone who supports Trump and his platform, and was willing to be honest about his experiences no matter how that honesty might be interpreted. Reading Team of Vipers was difficult, primarily because I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, like people making excuses to themselves why voting for a man like Trump - pretty much the antithesis of these christian, family values everyone keeps telling me about - is a good, moral, and religiously right thing to do. Every time the excuses or conspiracy theories came up, I just wanted to smack the author upside the head. You're an investigative journalist, so act like it! Evidence is important not just when it hurts rivals, but also when it exposes flaws in your own reasoning that you should address. At the same time, Sims has earned my grudging respect. He's published his experience and put his name on it, for good or ill. He was remarkably respectful in addressing dissenting opinions (with the exception of anything to do with HRC, where his conspiracy theory fueled dislike gets the better of him), such as religious people who decided not to support Trump (though he neglects to mention that they outnumbered by religious Trump supporters). Sims' point of view fills in some blanks where other exposes and memoirs have not reached, and does an admirable job of at least trying to be fair in coverage of both Trump's faults and strengths (although on the latter I think he is a bit too gracious). Team of Vipers wasn't a horrible book, though it's probably not something I would have picked up if I wasn't interested in the Trump administration. It is a book that I would recommend, especially to readers who are more skeptical of portrayals of that come from mainstream investigative journalists (like Bob Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House).
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  • Dantan Wernecke
    January 1, 1970
    I HAVE READ THE BOOK. I can’t even explain how dumb this book is. He had to go through 15 months in the Trump White House to learn some pretty basic and trite life-lessons? Cutthroat Washington surprised him? His most important event was when the Alabama football team came to the White House? Really? REALLY!? Look folks. Accounts of working in this banal administration have become horrendously banal. I truly do not understand why POTUS is so angry about this book. It flatters, but does so honest I HAVE READ THE BOOK. I can’t even explain how dumb this book is. He had to go through 15 months in the Trump White House to learn some pretty basic and trite life-lessons? Cutthroat Washington surprised him? His most important event was when the Alabama football team came to the White House? Really? REALLY!? Look folks. Accounts of working in this banal administration have become horrendously banal. I truly do not understand why POTUS is so angry about this book. It flatters, but does so honestly - the author truly appreciated his time at the White House and working for this president. While it is titled “Team of Vipers,” and he really, really hates John Kelly, nowhere does the author attempt to examine the man who put the team of vipers together. The staff of the West Wing didn’t just spontaneously appear. The president is in charge of his team. Period. I don’t begrudge the author whatever he’s written. It’s simply that it’s pointless and unnecessary. I give myself zero stars for wasting my time by reading this beige-Camry of a book.
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  • Morgan Schulman
    January 1, 1970
    I actually read the book and this is what it is: The author is a Conservative Republican who is cool with all of the administration’s agenda, and when Trump’s deportment crosses his Christian values, he consoles himself that it’s better than Hillary being president. He continues to justify his role in the palace intrigue as for the greater moral good of maintaining Republican leadership, until they turn on him. Then they’re vipers. Once he’s sacked, he is able to look inward and atone. There are I actually read the book and this is what it is: The author is a Conservative Republican who is cool with all of the administration’s agenda, and when Trump’s deportment crosses his Christian values, he consoles himself that it’s better than Hillary being president. He continues to justify his role in the palace intrigue as for the greater moral good of maintaining Republican leadership, until they turn on him. Then they’re vipers. Once he’s sacked, he is able to look inward and atone. There are a few good inside anecdotes but we all knew who Trump is so no new ground broken here. Also, Ivanka and Hope Hicks are hot He will never permit the righteous to be moved.
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  • Lupita
    January 1, 1970
    Still haven’t read it, but giving it a five-star rating to balance out the right-wing “reviewers” who won’t accept the truth. Cliff Sims seems to be more honest than Omarosa, so he’s probably (very likely, actually) telling the truth in the book.
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  • Matt Weinstein
    January 1, 1970
    70% praising Trump; 20% criticizing his colleagues; 10% faux self reflection. At least it’s pretty well written.
  • Shani Greene-Dowdell
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to listen on Audible. Anyone writing the truth about this administration gets 5 stars.
  • Clayton Turner
    January 1, 1970
    "I had the worst reputation of anyone he'd ever known." ~ Cliff Sims, Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House
  • Karen Adkins
    January 1, 1970
    While there are some interesting ground-level tidbits from this book, I will admit to feeling dirty after buying and reading it. Sims is so self-serving in his account that it's hard to take him seriously. It's clear from some of his stories that he was a prime leaker to the press corps; the conversation where John Kelly says this is the worst job he's had is a one-on-one with Sims, for instance. But more damningly, he inadvertently reveals substantial weaknesses about this White House while fei While there are some interesting ground-level tidbits from this book, I will admit to feeling dirty after buying and reading it. Sims is so self-serving in his account that it's hard to take him seriously. It's clear from some of his stories that he was a prime leaker to the press corps; the conversation where John Kelly says this is the worst job he's had is a one-on-one with Sims, for instance. But more damningly, he inadvertently reveals substantial weaknesses about this White House while feigning a defense. The staff are predominantly very young and inexperienced, which he passes off with a thin "private sector experience is better" (which ignores that LITTLE experience, whether it's private or public sector, means someone is ill prepared for a very demanding job). Every woman who works at the White House, save for Sarah Sanders, is described according to her physical attractiveness (does he even recognize the benign sexism in action? I doubt it). Most pathetically, he attempts to defend the President as a genius who is open to changing his mind on new information, but the issue on which he bases this claim (Trump's reversal on tariffs) is clearly presented as Trump having had no information, simply a slogan, and then reversing himself when being presented facts. Given that Sims then concludes by affirming his belief in a deep state, an angry mob on the left, and a fake news media, the whole thing is pretty depressing, which is unredeemed by the few gossipy nuggets I hadn't already known.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I finished it. The author is a true believer in Trump and what he has been doing to the country for the last 2 years, which can not help but color my reaction to this book. He honestly believes that the tax bill passed in 2017 was "tax reform" rather than a gift to the wealthy. He commended Trump for appointing a record number of federal judges during his first year in office, when in actuality there were so many vacancies because Mitch McConnell slow-walked Obana's nominees for these posi Well, I finished it. The author is a true believer in Trump and what he has been doing to the country for the last 2 years, which can not help but color my reaction to this book. He honestly believes that the tax bill passed in 2017 was "tax reform" rather than a gift to the wealthy. He commended Trump for appointing a record number of federal judges during his first year in office, when in actuality there were so many vacancies because Mitch McConnell slow-walked Obana's nominees for these positions, and refused to hold hearings on Obama's appointee to replace Antonin Scalia after his death 9 months before the election. So his praise of Trump for the judgeship appointments didn't sit well with me at all.As you can probably deduce from the paragraph above, I'm no fan of Trump or his administration. And my take on some of the events in Sims' book is quite a bit different from his. But it was interesting to read about the factions and in-fighting that Sims details, though it does not reassure me that our country is in good hands. The author did from time to time make Trump seem a little more human than most of the news stories I read, and for that he deserves credit.If you are a Trump fan, you'll probably enjoy this book. If you are not it will probably be an okay read, but nothing special
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    My single star means just skip it, I detest trump, this book was the antithesis of my thoughts and opinions, I find the author is firmly entrenched in trumps camp, sycophant kept raging across my mind as I read, just made me feel dirty being that close to his campaign. Our country is being managed by social media, I found the author unbearable too, egocentric and a hypocrite with all his Christian banter to hide behind. Bleech, I need a shower to wash off all the bs.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    This is on the road to redemption, but has hundreds of miles to go. My review is at Disruptive Dissertation.
  • Suzi
    January 1, 1970
    Easy to read and engaging. I didn't agree with much but Sims is enthusiastic. I gave it four stars because he can write well and from a viewpoint I cannot understand.
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