There’s nothing like the weeks before a major political tell-all book gets published for discovering or confirming all those behind-the-scenes scenarios that you’ve long imagined might have happened behind closed doors.
In the rush to build up pre-publication excitement for their books, authors and their publishers’ publicity machines leak out a portion of sordid, funny, or shocking anecdotes contained in their works, like a trail of breadcrumbs leading you to a bookstore — hopefully a local, independent one —or to an Amazon button to motivate your much-desired purchase.
The latest gem to be dug from the journalistic dirt comes from the new book by veteran Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward — of Watergate fame — and Robert Costa entitled Peril, due out next week from Simon & Schuster.
The tome is an account of how top leaders in the Republican Party attempted to deal with the chaos surrounding Donald Trump’s landslide loss to Joe Biden and the refusal of the petulant orange menace to recognize his defeat.
Among the juicy stories released in advance of publication, the one that is attracting the most attention is the previously untold tale of the time that Donald Trump was so offended by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who, in a rare moment of complete honesty after the January 6th insurrection, told the twice-impeached then-president that “You fucked your presidency up” — that he immediately slammed the phone down on the South Carolina senator.
Perhaps it was the fact that Senator Graham had heretofore been such a reliable sycophant and golf partner to the incompetent and deranged Republican president that he inspired such obvious anger and frustration in Trump with those lamentably true words in the wake of his obvious defeat.
Despite being described by Woodward and Costa as being considered the official “Trump Whisperer” by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Graham seemed to have failed in his bid to tame the narcissistic president’s temper tantrums.
The authors paint a portrait of Graham acting “like an addiction counselor struggling to keep his patient from taking one more drink” at this stage of Trump’s post-election frenzied eruption of contemptible self-pity.
Rather than calling the livid Trump back immediately, Senator Graham waited until the next morning to contact the sulking president.
When he did, he immediately tried to mend fences, taking the coward’s way out by telling the president that he couldn’t blame Trump for hanging up on him after what he said.
After that dutiful act of subjugation and Chinese cultural revolution-style self-criticism, Trump admitted to the supplicating senator that he would “lose my base” if he changed his style.
Graham used the detente to urge Trump to focus on the future, obsequiously telling him that 2024 would mark the “biggest comeback in American history.”
Graham may have missed one of the few opportunities for senior Senate Republicans to break ties to the Trump era and move the party forward without the albatross of an unstable defeated candidate weighing them down.
Unfortunately, Senator Graham handled it in the same manner as he described Trump’s conduct of his presidency, fucking up the chance to move on by flattering and encouraging the president to further pursue his big lie and endangering our democracy in the process.
Let’s hope that Woodward and Costa have managed to find more equally enlightening stories from the post-election madness at the Trump White House for their book Peril.
Check-in with Occupy Democrats for the latest on what all the new tell-all books emanating from the collapse of the last regime reveal about the hidden secrets of the Trump era.
Original reporting by Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, and Elizabeth Stuart at CNN.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.