Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 32

Kelly is making all the necessary efforts to ensure that he instills some order and discipline in the White House. Porter acknowledges Priebus’ efforts in trying to establish order and they come up with a strategy. (Woodward 220). The strategy makes Porter the ‘inbox and outbox’ for the President, meaning that all Presidential materials have to pass through him. Porter then manages to convince Trump to buy into the system. Nonetheless, the president continues airing his issues with the trade agreements. He believes that they need to do something, something that will show he is serious about his threats (Woodward 223).

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the President’s White House physician, thinks that Trump is under more stress than usual. Therefore, the doctor proposes to Kelly that they cut back the President’s schedule (Woodward 223). Despite these efforts, Trump will regularly interfere with the schedule since he is unpredictable and spontaneous. There is a meeting on steel tariffs, a borderline obsession of Trump’s, he wants the immediate implementation of the tariffs across the board without an exception to any country (Woodward 224). On the other hand, Mnuchin warns that some Republican senators stand against the tariffs and they may oppose the tax reforms. Therefore, they all agree to work on the tax reforms first before handling the tariffs.

Trump also starts to complain about his lawyers, stating that they are not aggressive enough, indeed he claims that they are weak and do not have his best interests in mind (Woodward 225). This new turn worries Porter and he gives Kelly a heads-up on Trump possibly going through a sort of break down. Porter wants Kelly to begin planning to ensure that the government continues working effectively even if the president becomes unhinged.


The White House has been in chaos for several months. This lack of order continues to thrive due to the diversity of ideologies that are held by many staff member, there is not a clear party line to follow. Staff members have seemingly split into two separate groups and when one is supporting an idea, the other is busy opposing. To be precise, these individuals never speak with a common voice and this causes the eruption of chaos. Kelly realizes that he needs to restore order, despite this difference of opinion for the successful day to day running of the country. It is for this reason that he and Porter come up with a strategy that will minimize staff contact with the President on matters concerning final decisions.

Being the President of the USA is a remarkably stressful position and the effects of this stress on Trump are enough to give his personal doctor cause for alarm. This stress is joined by frustration, with the President openly questioning the loyalty of his lawyers. Several issues are disturbing the president and he really needs the help and support of his staff.

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