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

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Chapter 18
Summary

There seems to be a problem in the West Wing of the White House. The issue involves Priebus and Bannon on one side while Kushner and Ivanka Trump are on the other, the issue boils down to the fact that Kushner and Ivanka consider themselves to be above other staff members (Woodward 129). This comes due to their relationship with Trump, with Ivanka being the President’s daughter and Kushner his son-in-law. Having said that, the pair fails to consider the accepted protocols and processes within the West Wing. This issue aggravates Bannon and Priebus and they confront the couple several times, including talking to Trump with no success (Woodward 129). Another issue involves McMaster. The author describes him as a man of order and discipline. This is the main issue that makes him incompatible with Trump.

News reaches Trump that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, used sarin gas to cause the brutal deaths of numerous rebels. Among the dead are women, children, and babies (Woodward 130). These actions seem to annoy Trump on a personal level. He wants to kill Assad and the US military start planning a strike. Bannon is concerned about the possibilities of war if the attack on Syria goes wrong. Nonetheless, they come up with a plan and launch a missile strike (Woodward 134). After the strike, Trump calls Graham to talk about the action he took. Graham is happy and wants Trump to strategize a solution, based on the possibility that Assad may decide to retaliate.

Analysis

Assad’s merciless actions of in Syria depict a ruthless ruler who has no compassion or regard for life. Clearly, Assad has no respect for his people, and his dictatorial personality overshadows his humanity. Despite that, Trump’s immediate actions show that he is human, and he values life, irrespective of the victim. It is a sad state of affairs that a dictator can kill civilians, including children with no apparent fear of consequence. Therefore, it makes sense that Trump takes it upon himself to deal with Assad on a personal level. Apart from that, it is vital that people within the government advise on a strike without causing war. For instance, the intelligence used shows that there were Russians in the airfields where Trump wanted to strike. Clearly, killing the Russians could have resulted in dire consequences. Due to this, they call the Russian Government before launching the missiles, also removing a residential target from the list since the house may have innocent civilians inside. In short, Assad is ruthless, but Trump and his advisers are individuals who have a high regard for life, especially for the innocent and civilians.

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