Unmaking the Presidency
The definitive account of how Donald Trump has wielded the powers of the American presidencyThe extraordinary authority of the U.S. presidency has no parallel in the democratic world. Today that authority resides in the hands of one man, Donald J. Trump. But rarely if ever has the nature of a president clashed more profoundly with the nature of the office. Unmaking the Presidency tells the story of the confrontation between a person and the institution he almost wholly embodies.From the moment of his inauguration, Trump has challenged our deepest expectations of the presidency. But what are those expectations, where did they come from, and how great is the damage? As editors of the “invaluable” (The New York Times) Lawfare website, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes have attracted a large audience to their hard-hitting and highly informed commentary on the controversies surrounding the Trump administration. In this book, they situate Trump-era scandals and outrages in the deeper context of the presidency itself. How should we understand the oath of office when it is taken by a man who may not know what it means to preserve, protect, and defend something other than himself? What aspects of Trump are radically different from past presidents and what aspects have historical antecedents? When has he simply built on his predecessors’ misdeeds, and when has he invented categories of misrule entirely his own? By setting Trump in the light of history, Hennessey and Wittes provide a crucial and durable account of a presidency like no other.

Unmaking the Presidency Details

TitleUnmaking the Presidency
Author
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating
GenrePolitics, Nonfiction, History

Unmaking the Presidency Review

  • Dee Arr
    January 1, 1970
    I continue to read political books, hoping that I may find a gem or two that will examine the events of the day without overloading the text with a slanted view. They are difficult to find. This book at times will push toward the center for a few paragraphs before sliding back to the left. The disdain for President Trump is spread throughout the book, on numerous occasions straining the reader’s credulity. Chapter One begins by arguing that his oath of office “…didn’t mean anything at all…” The I continue to read political books, hoping that I may find a gem or two that will examine the events of the day without overloading the text with a slanted view. They are difficult to find. This book at times will push toward the center for a few paragraphs before sliding back to the left. The disdain for President Trump is spread throughout the book, on numerous occasions straining the reader’s credulity. Chapter One begins by arguing that his oath of office “…didn’t mean anything at all…” The book asserts that a written opinion by an unnamed person in the Justice Department and Trump’s boast about the size of the inaugural crowd (labeled “the ultimate evidence”) make it “…abundantly clear that the pledge meant nothing to him” and that Trump “…couldn’t even fake it credibly.” Buried in the text is the authors’ admission that “One cannot know what was in Trump’s heart as he said the words the Constitution prescribes.” Even as they admit this truth, Ms. Hennessey and Mr. Wittes still assert the exact opposite. This technique is repeated throughout the book.Similarly, there are pages upon pages concerning Trump’s travel ban, and how the courts forced his administration to back up and dilute the original order. It sounds horrible as the book asserts that President Trump must be out of control. In fairness, the authors allow a passing mention that early in the previous administration, President Obama had tried to close Guantanamo Bay. In both instances, the checks and balances of our government worked. The point is that President Trump is not alone in his attempts to push the boundaries while working to achieve his promised agenda. While I could go chapter to chapter and discuss the smears and insinuations in each, it is easier (and less space-wasting) to break it all down to a quick overview. There is no doubt that President Trump is an unorthodox president; however, he has achieved some of his promises and continues to bring others to fruition. Democrats have unsuccessfully tried to overturn the 2016 election for three years and, recognizing that it will be difficult to defeat President Trump in 2020, continue to try to oust him with whatever method is handy. This book falls into that category. It will be loved by those who already have the same viewpoint and unread by those who don’t, so not much chance of changing anyone’s mind. As far as the writing itself, the choice to flip back and forth between male and female pronouns when referring to a president was distracting and sometimes confusing. Those of you who don’t like your novels filled with vulgarisms may wish to avoid this book. It has plenty of vulgarities, up to and including f-bombs, and not all of them in quotes. While the authors do outline the actions of previous presidents that could be considered precursors of what President Trump has done and said, the book concentrates on finding as much fault with him as is humanly possible. One glaring omission is a discussion concerning the attitudes and actions taken by other politicians in Washington. Donald Trump may be adding his own personality to the job (what president doesn’t) but he is also influenced by those who oppose him. Three stars.My thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for an advance complimentary copy of this book.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    "There is no law, after all, how the president should sound. There is only what the populace over time tolerates and rewards."Trust actions not words and never be fooled!Look, it's rather simple. The trail of destruction is long and wide.The vacancies, the turn overs, the daily drama and grievous lack of intellect to even serve is noticeable.He's unfit for office-PERIOD!As a malignant narc survivor I can't diagnose from afar based on Goldwater Rule but I can note the history is evident, the rule "There is no law, after all, how the president should sound. There is only what the populace over time tolerates and rewards."Trust actions not words and never be fooled!Look, it's rather simple. The trail of destruction is long and wide.The vacancies, the turn overs, the daily drama and grievous lack of intellect to even serve is noticeable.He's unfit for office-PERIOD!As a malignant narc survivor I can't diagnose from afar based on Goldwater Rule but I can note the history is evident, the rule breaking is on record, now all we need are true warriors to stand up for not only our Democracy but our Constitution.Talk is cheap. The above the law nature will continue until no stone is left unturned.We cannot allow it to continue and certainly can't wait till the next election.If you want to know the end result of such toxic individuals -check my profile.For those who care about the future state of our country -VOTE!
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  • Miguel
    January 1, 1970
    As a big fan of both the Lawfare and Rational Security podcasts, I’ll admit bias up front. Having said that, this is an important book not just for its timeliness but also for its documentation of the current political moment that will hopefully serve as guidepost for future historians and political science majors to try to understand the mindset of current observers to the tragedy occurring within the executive branch. Hennessey and Wittes take the reader on a tour of how the executive role has As a big fan of both the Lawfare and Rational Security podcasts, I’ll admit bias up front. Having said that, this is an important book not just for its timeliness but also for its documentation of the current political moment that will hopefully serve as guidepost for future historians and political science majors to try to understand the mindset of current observers to the tragedy occurring within the executive branch. Hennessey and Wittes take the reader on a tour of how the executive role has evolved over time and the stark implications of what the current administration is doing to erode, diminish and distort the powers contained therein. As a side note it’s been interesting to witness the evolution of Hennessey’s political musings from the pre-Trump era where she mainly came across as a staunch center right traditionalist, then to a lukewarm never-Trumper, to now full blown defender of the constitution with the onslaught being observed from the current occupant (at least from this listener’s observation). I hope that she and Benjamin Wittes will continue their keen observations long into the 2nd and 3rd terms of the Trump presidency (that's a bad attempt at morbid humor).
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  • Ietrio
    January 1, 1970
    Another pampered brat using big words like "war" just to call attention to their tantrum. And yea, the mandate is not over and they already have ALL the data.
  • Csimplot Simplot
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book!!!
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