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

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Chapter 34
Summary

The conflict between Trump and Kim Jong Un is becoming personal, with Trump resorting to personal jabs saying that that Kim is crazy. Nonetheless, he calls for peace between the US and North Korea. Surprising, Trump claims that it will be an honor to meet Kim under the right circumstances (Woodward 234). Apart from that, Trump says that North Korea should never present a threat to the United States, because if it does, it will be met with an untold fire and fury. The individuals involved with defense seek a strategy that can help deter North Korea. However, Mattis worries that their efforts may initiate the war they want to avoid. Despite that, Mattis and Dunford believe that it is possible to contain North Korea (Woodward 235). Later, Trump calls Kim ‘Little Rocket Man’ and Kim fires back saying that a frightened dog barks louder (Woodward 235). Porter thinks that the war of words may lead to bigger issues, but Trump says that it is merely a contest of wills.

Kelly seeks Graham’s advice on North Korea. The senator presents a proposal that surprises Kelly. Graham says that China needs to kill Kim Jong Un and replace him with a person they can control. Through this, Graham believes that peace can prevail since China will help stop any nuclear production (Woodward 236). Apart from that, Chris Crane, the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union appears on Fox News complaining of limited access to the president. Therefore, Trump invites Crane to the White House without informing Kelly. The meeting changes after Kelly becomes aware of Crane’s presence. The two are not friendly and they insult each other. Kelly says he will quit and proposes Kirstjen Nielsen as the new secretary (Woodward 237). However, many people seem to hate Nielsen and Trump is not sure about giving her the job. Nonetheless, the Senate approves Nielsen’s nomination and Trump has to conform.

Analysis

Trump and Kim Jong Un are two individuals who are somehow similar. The two are ignorant and are never afraid of getting personal. Each one is obsessed with getting a win and they cannot settle for less. They also care a lot about their own reputations thus making then insult each other with an increasing intensity. This shows that the two can easily make peace by coming to a consensus, but their ego cannot allow them to show submission. Mattis seemingly has the interests of the country at heart and he intends on keeping the peace and not inciting anything dangerous. This is the reason why he wants to ensure that the strategies they use will not initiate war. A war they are trying to avoid.

Graham’s proposals indicate that he might be thinking of starting a war between North Korea and China. He is also ahead of himself considering that he wants the Chinese to kill Kim. His strategy is misguided as assassinating Kim may lead to the rise of a more aggressive Korean government. Such an occurrence may lead to war or even worse. The reaction displayed by various individuals upon hearing about Kirstjen Nielsen indicates that she is firm with her ideologies and she does not do things to please others. Therefore, Nielsen seems to be an effective leader who the president should consider.

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