Photograph from Variety
Today is known around the world as Three Kings Day, celebrating the day that the three Wise Men found the new born Messiah in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12). As they were bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, it used to be the day that Christmas presents were exchanged before December 25 became the norm. It is also known as the Epiphany – a word which in modern usage has come to mean a surprising moment of profound revelation or insight.
And what a gift we just received in Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury. It reveals our White House is completely devoid of any, well, wise men. It’s filled with hundreds of examples of you putting the “diss” in the White House dysfunction. The only thing keeping the book from being a true epiphany is that this was no surprise. We knew all along that the emperor had no clothes.
The narrative is in perfect keeping with your proclaiming on the campaign trail that you’d be way too busy doing “president stuff” to go golfing, even though to date you’ve played 88 games of golf and have spent time on one of your properties about one in every four days since being sworn in. Is there any wonder that your approval rating is the lowest of any president in his first year?
Here are my favorite excerpts of the book (and by favorite, I mean most in keeping with the tragi-comic image the world has of you. There is really nothing favorable in any of this):
– One of your advisors trying to explain the Constitution to you: “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.” I guess the NRA should be happy that you at least made it past the Second.
– Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch calling you “a f***ing idiot” after a phone call with you. That’s pretty sad, coming from your own minister of propaganda.
– Another of your advisors saying that dealing with you is “like trying to figure out what a child wants.” This is an unfair characterization, as my two kids communicate with clarity and respect.
– Steve Bannon calling your son’s secret meeting with Russians “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Well, what else could we have expected – the apple doesn’t rot far from the tree.
– And most telling of all, your own wife breaking out in tears (not of joy) when you actually won. This is perhaps the one anecdote most American voters can best personally relate to.
So it was little wonder that you and your lawyers attempted to block its release. That would have been a flagrant, albeit predictable, violation of the First Amendment – a freedom on which all of our other American freedoms depend. Yesterday’s letter, thanking the media for their dedication to truth and transparency, hit the nail on the head. This right is so universal that it, too, is referenced in the Bible: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). But you predictably denounced it as fake news. Yet try as you may, you can’t succeed in silencing it through 140-character grammatically questionable sentence fragments.
Lincoln – a REAL president – said it best: ”You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” Maybe you’ll just have to be content with fooling yourself. No epiphany required.