Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 6

The author picks up the story a week later after the election. At this moment, Trump is the president-elect of the United States. Trump’s first duty is to select his cabinet secretaries. Therefore, he invites retired four-star Army General Jack Keane to Trump Tower for an interview with the aim of making Keane the secretary of defense (Woodward 55). However, Keane declines the offer due to personal issues. Nevertheless, Keane recommends Jim Mattis for the job, and he highlights some of the advantages of having Mattis in the position (Woodward 55). Later, Keane calls Mattis who approves saying that he is capable of doing the job.

Later in the month, Trump calls Mattis for a meeting at Bedminster. There, Trump emphasizes on dealing with ISIS since that was one of his key election promises (Woodward 56). In return, Mattis presents a strategy of dealing with the issue, a strategy that Trump is in favor of. Therefore, Trump offers Mattis the job as the Secretary of Defense and they agree to be quiet about it for some time. Bannon thinks that Mattis is too liberal on social policies and a globalist at heart (Woodward 56). Despite that, he later comes to agree that Mattis is the right choice. Bob Woodward sees it fit to give a brief professional background of Jim Mattis and his involvement with Bob Harward (Woodward 57). For many years during his service, Jim Mattis had insisted on interfering with Iran to avoid possible harm to the US. However, Obama had decided to relieve him of his duty in 2013, and the worry about Iran had ceased. However, the appointment of Mattis by Trump brings fear that the US may go to war with Iran (Woodward 59). Apart from Mattis, Trump also appoints Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State.


The point at which the author picks up his story shows that he needs to tell his audience the most important details. This is after Trump wins the election and he has to hastily form a cabinet. Despite the pressure, Trump handles the situation well. For instance, he already has a candidate for the position of defense secretary. Having Keane has his first priority indicates that Trump is loyal and thoughtful. In addition, choosing a military man is an idealistic approach since the position needs an experienced individual who can take appropriate action towards any threat to the nation. However, Keane declining the offer shows that he is modest and a good man. Despite having his own reasons for declining the offer, Keane’s patriotism compels him to recommend a better candidate for the position, Jim Mattis.

The author tells the reader that Mattis shared a strategy of dealing with ISIS with the President-elect even before Trump offered him the job. This is a clear indication that Mattis is a patriotic individual who loves his country and aims at doing anything to protect the US. Woodward also acknowledges that Mattis had provided Obama’s administration with a strategy plan even after he lost his job.

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