Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called his friend Donald Trump “a lying mother—-er” but “a lot of fun to hang out with,” according to “The Divider,” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, out next Tuesday.
Why it matters: Graham said it with “a what-can-you-do shrug,” the authors report — the mindset of so many Trump allies and enablers.
The big picture: “The Divider” — a sweeping, dishy, 700-plus-page history of “Trump’s almost cartoonishly chaotic White House” — shows he came close to taking several rash military actions, as Glasser and Baker reported in an adaptation from the book last month in The New Yorker.
- The book draws on 300 new interviews (including two with Trump) plus diaries, memos, contemporaneous notes, emails and text messages.
More nuggets from Glasser, a columnist for The New Yorker, and Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times:
- Trump enraged then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford with attacks on the integrity of generals, including accusing the military of undermining him in the press. “You guys are f—ing leakers,” Trump said. “We’re not f—ing leakers,” Dunford shot back.
- Melania Trump told former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at the time a presidential confidant, that she had warned her husband about his COVID response: “You’re blowing this.”
- Trump sometimes undercut Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, in meetings when he wasn’t there. “Jared, all he cares about is his New York liberal crowd,” Trump harrumphed. “These are not my people.”
- White House chief of staff John Kelly was so furious when Trump refused to lower the flag after Sen. John McCain died that he told the president: “If you don’t support John McCain’s funeral, when you die, the public will come to your grave and piss on it.” Trump gave in.
More on the book … N.Y. Times review (subscription): “It’s all here: the culture wars and the corruption, the demagogy and the autocrat-love, the palace intrigue and the public tweets, the pandemic and the impeachments (plural).”