10 May 2023

The Final Act of the Trump Show

Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show

In Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, Jonathan Karl covers Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the insurrection by Trump supporters who believed his lies about the 2020 US presidential election. This is the eighteenth Trump book reviewed on Dateline Bangkok (or the nineteenth, if you count the audiobook The Trump Tapes). The others are: Confidence Man, Fire and Fury, Too Much and Never Enough, Fear, Rage, Peril, I Alone Can Fix It, A Very Stable Genius, Inside Trump’s White House, The United States of Trump, Trump’s Enemies, The Trump White House, The Room Where It Happened, Team of Five, American Carnage, TrumpNation, and The Cost.

Trump’s last year in office was reported more extensively in I Alone Can Fix It and Peril. But Karl’s book—which is partly a memoir of his experience as an ABC News correspondent—does contain some new details. He writes about his “strangest ever meeting” with Trump, an off-the-record Oval Office discussion in March 2020 during which Trump kept Vice President Mike Pence waiting while he traded political gossip.

Karl interviewed the former president at Mar-a-Largo and asked him to confirm an extraordinary quote first attributed to him by The New York Times in 2021. Did he really tell Pence, in a phone call on the day of the insurrection: “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy”? “I wouldn’t dispute it,” is Trump’s remarkable reply.

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