The shocking truth about Donald Trump! The book A Warning (by “Anonymous: a senior Trump administration official”) reveals it.
Well, no, it doesn’t. I lied.
But I figured that I would start with a lie, in keeping with the subject. Now for the truth:
Unfortunately there’s really almost nothing new in this otherwise absorbing book, and we still don’t know who Anonymous is (more on the latter point below). First, though, in case you haven’t been paying attention, this is for the most part a greatly expanded version of an Op-Ed piece published a year ago in the New York Times. If you’ve read that, and if you’ve been following the news regularly, you will find almost nothing surprising in A Warning, although the many details provided certainly put some flesh on the bones, and there is also one major change between the NYT piece and the subsequent book. Of course if you’re a Trump supporter you will deny it all, starting with the fact that you don’t know who the messenger is and can therefore dismiss him (yes, definitely “him”) as an anti-Trumper.
Oh, you want to know what the “one major change” is? The Times essay identified the author as a member of an organized resistance within the Trump administration, but the book implicitly retracts that claim, indicating that no such organized resistance existed. There is also a change in tone, if not in detail: in the Times essay I was left with the impression that the anonymous writer might be a Democrat, but it’s clear that he isn’t. A fine article in Business Insider explores this issue in detail.
The big question of course is “Who is Anonymous?” You’ll get a few clues from A Warning, but nothing definitive. An article in The New Republic provides some well-informed speculation. Also, for more details, read this article in Washingtonian Magazine. Why hasn’t a forensic linguist done a stylistic analysis to compare the author to known writers who have been put forward as possibilities, as was done successfully for Primary Colors? I have no idea. But Anonymous claims that he will reveal his identity before the 2020 election, and others will do likewise! Well…maybe. Here’s what he says:
There are more potential whistleblowers; they just haven’t made the decision to come forward yet. I assure you many people have witnessed the President’s corruption. They are hesitant to speak up because they see what he does to his critics. The anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, and the brave public servants testifying before Congress, will hopefully convince them to be on the right side of history.
We shall see.