Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 9

Trump invites his top advisers and security team to the White House soon after taking the oath to office. Mattis presents plans for a SEAL Team Six operation against a senior Al Qaeda collaborator in Yemen (Woodward 74). Impressed, Trump signs the order but the raid goes wrong leaving one SEAL dead, three wounded and many more civilian casualties. Trump duly attends the Navy Seal’s funeral but is ignored by the deceased’s parents (Woodward 75). Despite that, Trump invites Carryn Owens, the soldiers’ widow to a joint address to Congress. He affirms that the mission was a success and the nation acquired a large amount of intelligence that will help the country in the future. Therefore, he acknowledges Ryan Owen’s death as one of a hero, as he died for his friends and for his country (Woodward 76).

Trump has been dealing with the problem of NATO since the campaign trail. He made a promise that the US would get out of the treaty and subsequent obligations. He appears to be particularly passionate about this as most of the other member nations are not paying the required 2 percent of their GDP. To him, it is unfair that the US is paying more to help those lagging behind (Woodward 77). However, his adviser does not think it is a good idea. Therefore, Priebus sets up a dinner meeting for the cabinet to discuss the issue. Mattis and General Joseph Dunford then cite their concerns about the treaty, thus convincing Trump to remain in NATO (Woodward 79).


Woodward portrays Trump as a trusting man. Mattis presents his plan to send a SEAL force into Yemen and Trump approves it the next day. The president does not take his time to research on the issue or consider seeking further guidance. Due to this, a man loses his life in the operation and the nation incurs a big loss. Despite that, the writer paints Trump as having compassion, considering that he attends Owen’s funeral and tries to talk to the parents. He also invites Owen’s wife and makes personal phone calls to the families who have lost relatives in the line of duty.

The issue of NATO shows that Trump is a man who likes equality and fairness. Despite the US being superior in various ways, Trump still seeks to make other, lesser nations pay their dues as is required. His issue with the treaty surrounds matters concerning money, and how he handles the situation depicts his personal life. Ideally, his actions make it clear that he has never experienced a life of lacking, and thus he expects others to make the effort in everything to ensure that fairness prevails. Nonetheless, his advisers seem to understand the issues better and this makes it easy for them to convince him to reconsider his decision.

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