Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 11

After the issue surrounding Flynn and his resignation, Trump needs another National Security Adviser, and he needs him fast. Therefore, he holds interviews and the first interviewee is Army Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster (Woodward 85). Bannon has given McMaster a few tips that will help him in the interview. However, McMaster comes off as ignorant and Trump does not like him at all. The second candidate is a far-right former U.N. ambassador John Bolton. Bolton conducts the interview well, but Trump is phased by something non-political, his bushy mustache (Woodward 86). Lieutenant General Robert Caslen comes in next and he keeps his answers short. Trump seems to like Caslen and he keeps the interview friendly. Later, Kushner notes that the media like McMaster but Bannon affirms that Trump has more chemistry with Caslen (Woodward 86). Therefore, the two decide to give McMaster and Bolton another chance for an interview and to invite Caslen for a one-on-one lunch in the White House.

The next day, Bolton and McMaster come in. McMaster is in uniform this time just as Bannon advised. The interviews go on well and to Bannon’s surprise, Trump wants to make the decision right away without much consideration. Trump needs to silence the media’s constant repetition of the Flynn story and present a new story that they can run with. Trump therefore settles on McMaster as he has experience and the media already likes him (Woodward 87).


Bob Woodward manages to show his audience the sense of urgency that is felt in Trump’s office since he needs to fill in the position that Flynn had vacated. It seems responsible that Trump decides to hold interviews for various individuals who seem qualified for the position. This goes against his prior behavior of just picking people to fill the positions. Nevertheless, Trump still cares about the media and the perception people have of his administration. In fact, the news on Flynn seem to embarrass him and he needs to take control of the stories going in the media. He wants them to praise him, and this brings the urgency in appointing the advisory role.

Apart from that, Trump is a judgmental individual who mainly judges people according to superficial appearances such as how they dress and the way they talk. For instance, he claims that McMaster looked like a beer salesman due to the suit he was wearing (Woodward 86). Besides that, Trump is a quick decision-maker who seemingly bows to pressure, since he hired McMaster on the second day of the interview. This possibly indicates that he has insecurities and prefers to solve his problems in the quickest way possible.

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