I often tell people that I don’t hate Donald Trump. After all, he is who he is, and it is fairly obvious who he is. What tears at my heart are the people who enable him; who think he makes a good president. This includes the people who join his administration, ignoring the fact that he is obviously a fraud and a con man. And the Republican Senators and other politicians, who publicly praise Trump in order to avoid angering his base. And most of all, Trump’s base, the roughly 40% of Americans who believe that Trump is doing a good job and actually revel in his lies.
Like the people who risk the health and lives of their families and themselves by refusing to wear a mask or social distance just because Trump tells them not to.
Which brings us to the new book by Mary Trump: “Too Much and Never Enough”. Slate has a fascinating review by Dahlia Lithwick that points out something new and significant: This is the first book that doesn’t just attack Donald Trump, it goes after the enablers and explores why they get entrapped supporting him:
Too Much and Never Enough may be the first book that stipulates, in its first pages, that the president is irreparably damaged, and then turns a clinician’s lens on the rest of us, the voters, the enablers, the flatterers, the hangers-on, and the worshipers. It is here that Mary Trump’s book makes perhaps the most enduring contribution to the teetering piles of books that have offered too little too late, even while telling us that which we already knew. Because Mary Trump begins from the assumption that other analysis tends to end with: Donald Trump is lethally dangerous, stunningly incoherent, and pathologically incapable of caring about anyone but himself. So, what Mary Trump wants to know is: What the hell is wrong with everyone around him? As she writes in her prologue, “there’s been very little effort to understand not only why he became what he is but how he’s consistently failed up despite his glaring lack of fitness.”
The book is thus actually styled as an indictment not of Donald Trump but of Trump’s enablers.
I see this as being similar to the “big lie” — a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. In this case, Donald Trump is a colossal fake who has conned so many people into believing that he is successful and rich. And once they get hoodwinked, they are trapped because admitting that you were so stupidly conned is unthinkable.
[Mary Trump] blames his family that propped him up (also her family, it should be noted), and then in concentric and expanding circles, the media that failed to scrutinize him, the banks that pretended he was the financial genius he was not, the Republican Party, and the “claque of loyalists” in the White House who continue to lie for him and to him in order to feed his insatiable ego and self-delusion. Even the phrase “too much and never enough” is perhaps deliberately borrowed from the language of addiction, and what Mary Trump describes here is not just her uncle’s addiction to adulation, fame, money, and success, but a nation’s—or some part of a nation’s—unfathomable addiction to him.
Donald Trump’s rise to power was perfectly timed, coming at a moment when Americans have a morbid fascination with being a “winner”, or at least acting like a winner even if you aren’t one.
Taking [Donald Trump] on for transactional purposes may seem like not that big a deal at first, but the moment you put him in your pocket, you become his slave. It is impossible to escape his orbit without having to admit a spectacular failure in moral and strategic judgment, which almost no one can stomach.
I encourage you to read the book review in its entirety. Not surprisingly, the book itself is selling like gangbusters. It sold just under a million copies in its first day, outpacing all other anti-Trump books.