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

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Chapter 2
Summary

In this chapter, the author leaps from 2010 to 2016. Trump is already the Republican presidential candidate and is running against Hillary Clinton of. Bannon is reading the New York Times and he cannot believe that Trump made it this far (Woodward 23). In fact, it surprises him that Trump defeated sixteen other candidates in the Republican. Bannon calls Rebekah Mercer whose family is one of the biggest sources of campaign money for the Republican (Woodward 24). Mercer thinks that Bannon should step in and run the campaigns for Trump despite his lack of experience. She thinks that Trump will hire Bannon since the billionaire listens to him and he is always looking for adult supervision (Woodward 24). In addition, Mercer claims that apart from being an outsider, Trump is also desperate. After that, the Mercers contact Trump for a fundraiser. The author claims that the family has a history of just signing the cheques without seeing the candidate but this time they want ten minutes with Trump. Rebekah Mercer then says that Manafort has to go for Steve Bannon to step in (Woodward 24).

That night, Bannon calls Trump and asks him for a meeting the next morning. He believes that despite the negative images being painted in the press, they can win, partially because he sees Clinton as a weak opponent (Woodward 25). The chairperson of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus also has his worries about Trump’s candidacy, mainly stemming from Trump’s insults toward minority communities (Woodward 25). Senator Mitch McConnell had even asked Priebus to withdraw Trump’s funding by diverting it to the senatorial candidates. Nonetheless, Priebus stands behind Trump firmly while fulfilling his duty towards the party effectively.

That Sunday morning, Bannon meets Trump in Bedminster, surprised to find that he is not the only person expected in the meeting. This aggravates Bannon a lot because he knows he is not there to audition in front of anyone (Woodward 26). During the meeting, Bannon presents his strategies to Trump, focusing on attacking the issues that Clinton supports (Woodward 26). He also maintains that Manafort should remain the campaign chairperson, whilst appointing Kellyanne Conway to be the designated campaign manager and becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the campaign himself (Woodward 29).

Trump talks to Kellyanne Conway and she affirms that they can win the presidential race. She gives several pointers, claiming that people need specifics of what the candidate will do. In addition, he has to be sincere and committed to delivering his promises if he is to win (Woodward 30). Trump asks Conway if she can run the campaigns and she accepts on the spot.

Analysis

Bob Woodward expresses the doubts experienced during the campaigns. People did not see Trump as a potential leader, let alone as a viable candidate for president. A lot of the press were also covering the candidate in a bad way based on his behavior and insulting exploits. Woodward makes it clear that Bannon is a loyal Republican supporter, irrespective of the candidate. Bannon’s decision to call Rebekah Mercer is an indication that he is willing to step in and ensure that Trump wins the elections. The Mercers have their doubt about Trump, evident since they ask for a meeting with the candidate. They express their doubts and worries claiming that Manafort has to go so that Bannon can fill that position.

On the other hand, Bannon shows his support by calling Trump and asking for a meeting. He presents his strategy and plan to win the elections, as he believes that Clinton’s ideas will not please the voters. Bannon’s strategy shows his political mindset and he is confident that these concepts will work effectively. His decision to maintain Manafort as the campaign chairperson shows that he is a cautious individual, since firing Manafort would put the campaigns in jeopardy. Conway’s immediate acceptance to be the campaign manager shows that she has faith that Trump will triumph, and she is not afraid of supporting him to the end.

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