Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot
One of the more alarming anecdotes in “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s incendiary new book about Donald Trump’s White House, involves the firing of James Comey, former director of the F.B.I. It’s not Trump’s motives that are scary; Wolff reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “increasingly panicked” and “frenzied” about what Comey would find if he looked into the family finances, which is incriminating but unsurprising. The terrifying part is how, in Wolff’s telling, Trump sneaked around his aides, some of whom thought they’d contained him.
在迈克尔・沃尔夫(Michael Wolff)关于唐纳德・特朗普白宫的煽动性新书《炮火与怒火》(Fire and Fury)中有不少令人震惊的轶事，其中最惊人的一件涉及FBI前局长詹姆斯・科米(James Comey)的解职。可怕的不是特朗普的动机。沃尔夫说，伊万卡・特朗普(Ivanka Trump)和贾里德・库什纳(Jared Kushner)担心科米在调查特朗普家族财务状况时可能会有所发现，因而感到“愈发恐慌”和“狂乱”。这实际上是在暗示他们两人有罪，但这并不令人惊讶。可怕的是，根据沃尔夫的描述，特朗普悄悄绕过了助手们，他们中的一些人还以为自己可以掌控他。
“For most of the day, almost no one would know that he had decided to take matters into his own hands,” Wolff writes. “In presidential annals, the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey may be the most consequential move ever made by a modern president acting entirely on his own.” Now imagine Trump taking the same approach toward ordering the bombing of North Korea.
Wolff’s scabrous book comes out on Friday ― the publication date was moved up amid a media furor ― but I was able to get an advance copy. It’s already a consequential work, having precipitated a furious rift between the president and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who told Wolff that the meeting Donald Trump Jr. brokered with Russians in the hope of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” On Thursday the president’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff’s publisher, Henry Holt, demanding that it stop publication, claiming, among other things, defamation and invasion of privacy. This move would be fascistic if it weren’t so farcical. (While some have raised questions about Wolff’s methods, Axios reports that he has many hours of interviews recorded.)
沃尔夫这本粗率的新书将于周五出版――由于媒体的狂热，它的出版速度加快了――不过我提前拿到了书稿。它已经产生了重要影响，导致总统与他的前首席战略师史蒂夫・班农(Steve Bannon)愤怒决裂。因为班农对沃尔夫说，小唐纳德・特朗普(Donald Trump Jr.)为获取希拉里・克林顿(Hillary Clinton)的黑材料而与俄罗斯人会面，是“不爱国”的“叛国”行为。周四，总统的律师们向沃尔夫的出版商亨利・霍尔特(Henry Holt)发了一封停止侵权通知书，要求停止出版该书，并提出了诽谤和侵犯隐私等罪名。这个举动如果不是那么荒唐，简直算得上法西斯主义（尽管有人对沃尔夫的写作方式提出质疑，但Axios网站报道称，他有很多个小时的采访录音）。
There are lots of arresting details in the book. We learn that the administration holds special animus for what it calls “D.O.J. women,” or women who work in the Justice Department. Wolff writes that after the white supremacist mayhem in Charlottesville, Va., Trump privately rationalized “why someone would be a member of the K.K.K.” The book recounts that after the political purge in Saudi Arabia, Trump boasted that he and Kushner engineered a coup: “We’ve put our man on top!”
But most of all, the book confirms what is already widely understood ― not just that Trump is entirely unfit for the presidency, but that everyone around him knows it. One thread running through “Fire and Fury” is the way relatives, opportunists and officials try to manipulate and manage the president, and how they often fail. As Wolff wrote in a Hollywood Reporter essay based on the book, over the past year, the people around Trump, “all ― 100 percent ― came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”
According to Wolff, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, called Trump an “idiot.” (So did the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, though he used an obscenity first.) Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, compares his boss’s intelligence to excrement. The national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, thinks he’s a “dope.” It has already been reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron,” which he has pointedly refused to deny.
据沃尔夫说，财政部长史蒂文・努钦(Steven Mnuchin)和前幕僚长雷恩斯・普利巴斯(Reince Priebus)把特朗普叫“白痴”。（媒体大亨、福克斯新闻[Fox News]的老板鲁伯特・默多克[Rupert Murdoch]也是，但他先是用了一个更粗俗的说法。）特朗普的首席经济顾问加里・科恩(Gary Cohn)把他老板的智力比作大粪。国家安全顾问H・R・麦克马斯特(H.R. McMaster)认为他是一个“笨蛋”。有报道说美国国务卿雷克斯・蒂勒森(Rex Tillerson)称特朗普“蠢货”。对此，他本人刻意拒绝明确否认。
And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve: The “mess that might do serious damage to the nation, and, by association, to your own brand, might be transcended if you were seen as the person, by dint of competence and professional behavior, taking control of it.”
This is a delusion as wild, in its own way, as Trump’s claim that the “Access Hollywood” tape was faked. Some of the military men trying to steady American foreign policy amid Trump’s whims and tantrums might be doing something quietly decent, sacrificing their reputations for the greater good. But most members of Trump’s campaign and administration are simply traitors. They are willing, out of some complex mix of ambition, resentment, cynicism and rationalization, to endanger all of our lives ― all of our children’s lives ― by refusing to tell the country what they know about the senescent fool who boasts of the size of his “nuclear button” on Twitter.
Maybe, at the moment, people in the Trump orbit feel complacent because a year has passed without any epic disaster, unless you count an estimated 1,000 or so deaths in Puerto Rico, which they probably don’t. There’s an old joke, recently cited by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, that describes where we are right now: A guy falls from a 50-story building. As he flies by the 25th floor, someone asks how it’s going. “So far, so good!” he says.
也许此刻，特朗普圈子里的人正洋洋得意，因为一年已经过去了，这期间没有发生任何重大灾难，除非你把波多黎各大约1000人的死亡算作重大灾难，但他们可能不会这么想。“谈话要点备忘录”(Talking Points Memo)网站的乔希・马歇尔(Josh Marshal)最近说起了一个老笑话。这个笑话描述的正是我们目前的处境：一个人从一栋50层高的楼上坠落。经过25层的时候，有人问他感觉怎么样。“目前还不错!”他说。
Eventually, we’ll hit the ground, and assuming America survives, there should be a reckoning to dwarf the defenestration of Harvey Weinstein and his fellow ogres. Trump, Wolff’s reporting shows, has no executive function, no ability to process information or weigh consequences. Expecting him to act in the country’s interest is like demanding that your cat do the dishes. His enablers have no such excuse.