A Very Stable Genius; Free, Melania – the lord of misrule and his mysterious wife

Peter Conrad in The Guardian:

At one point in A Very Stable Genius, the conservative lawyer George Conway – the husband of Trump’s acid-tongued apologist Kellyanne Conway – doubles over in incredulous mirth at the man’s idiocy. Then the joke palls, as Conway realises with a shudder that “the object of his ridicule was the president of the United States”. We’re lucky that it’s only Trump’s hissy fits that are “thermonuclear”; instead of launching missiles, he childishly makes war by weaponising sweets. At a summit he tosses two Starburst candies at Angela Merkel and grunts: “Don’t say I never give you anything.” I wonder what flavour he chose for this undiplomatic exchange: sour or summer blast?

Although the title of A Very Stable Genius ironically adopts Trump’s preening self-description, Rucker and Leonnig present him as a lord of misrule who delights in instability, running a government that resembles “a virtual tilt-a-whirl” at a carnival. Despite his claim to be a genius, under his combed-over crown he has an entirely vacuous head: he tells India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, that it’s a good thing the country doesn’t have a border with China, and at a ceremony in Pearl Harbor he asks what exactly happened there to justify the commemoration. Forget about CIA briefings: as Steve Bannon puts it, Trump “doesn’t even know what intelligence is”. As proof, Rucker and Leonnig have a scoop about one of his crazier wheezes. Denied funds for his wall along the Mexican border, he proposes a human chain of hefty enforcers, hundreds of thousands of them, who would join hands in a barricade extending across 1,200 miles. A stable genius or a rampaging dimwit?

More here.