Woodward book shames Trump shills, apologists and enablers

As the details from the new Bob Woodward book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," begin to emerge, there is trembling throughout the Republican cloakrooms in the Senate and House, throughout the White House staff and throughout the community of those who have been Trump’s most visible shills and apologists in the media.

Woodward’s book is a tale of contempt toward the president from a long list of his closest advisors in the White House and contempt from the president toward many of his closest past and current advisors.

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Every Republican must now fully defend special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE from Trump’s attacks, and Republicans in Congress must belatedly stand on principle and oppose Trump’s wrongs because the already grave danger they face in midterm elections will now rocket to landslide levels after the Woodward book and recent Russia-related indictments and trials.

The sordid details of what can be found in the book is detailed in a flurry of major stories in the Washington Post, The Hill, the home page of CNN and other respected news sites.

It is not surprising to learn that former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story MORE and current White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE are quoted as referring to Trump with words such as “idiot” and “moron” (often attached to profanity).

It is not surprising to learn that Secretary of Defense James Mattis is quoted as saying that Trump has the understanding of a fifth- or sixth-grader, and that senior White House aides literally stole and hid papers from the president’s desk to prevent him from taking actions they believed could threaten American and world security.

It is not surprising to learn that most of the upper echelon of the White House staff was at internal war with the president to protect him from his lesser instincts and to protect the nation and the world from the extreme dangers he could cause to the nation and world by his reckless and intemperate behavior.

It is not surprising that Trump’s legal team does not want him to testify under oath before special counsel Robert Mueller because they fear that he would lie so much that he would, as his former lawyer John Dowd was quoted as saying, end up "wearing an orange jumpsuit."

It is not surprising that Trump has such extreme contempt for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein Donald Trump’s Rosenstein dilemma White House proposes executive order to Trump that would examine tech companies’ practices MORE that he called him mentally retarded and mocked his Southern accent, which will not help Republicans or Trump in Southern states.

It is only slightly surprising to read that Trump has such stinging contempt for his lawyer Rudy Giuliani that he is quoted comparing him to a baby who needs a change of diapers.

The day Woodward's book is released will be a day of reckoning. It will be a reckoning for White House staff and cabinet members who will now be in meetings with the president in which Trump knows what they said about him, and they know what Trump has said about them.

It will be a reckoning for Republicans in the House and Senate who act like automatons marching in lockstep to defend Trump. 

At a time when polls are showing danger for Republicans, from Trump’s sky-high unpopularity to their low support in the midterm elections, this book will put intense pressure on Republicans facing the grave danger of going down with Trump’s ship in the midterms.

It will put intense pressure on those who can fairly be called Trump shills, defending him on various media outlets, whose own credibility has already been damaged by their defenses of Trump, often with dubious arguments. 

Will they continue to put their names in writing or their faces on television defending Trump and discussing, point by point, the revelations in the Woodward book?

History will show that the Manafort convictions were a defining moment in the midterm elections and the Russia investigations.

It will also show the Woodward book will be a defining moment as the American people render judgment on the Trump presidency, his defenders, apologists, enablers and shills.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.