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Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office
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Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  21 reviews

The definitive account of how Donald Trump has wielded the powers of the American presidency

The extraordinary authority of the U.S. presidency has no parallel in the democratic world. Today that authority resides in the hands of one man, Donald J. Trump. But rarely if ever has the nature of a president clashed more profoundly with the nature of the office. Unmaking the

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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 ·  88 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Donna Hines
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, netgalley
"There is no law, after all, how the president should sound. There is only what the populace over time tolerates and rewards."
Trust actions not words and never be fooled!
Look, it's rather simple. The trail of destruction is long and wide.
The vacancies, the turn overs, the daily drama and grievous lack of intellect to even serve is noticeable.
He's unfit for office-PERIOD!
As a malignant narc survivor I can't diagnose from afar based on Goldwater Rule but I can note the history is evident, the rule
Dee Arr
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I continue to read political books, hoping that I may find a gem or two that will examine the events of the day without overloading the text with a slanted view. They are difficult to find. This book at times will push toward the center for a few paragraphs before sliding back to the left.

The disdain for President Trump is spread throughout the book, on numerous occasions straining the reader’s credulity. Chapter One begins by arguing that his oath of office “…didn’t mean anything at all…” The
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of both the Lawfare and Rational Security podcasts, I’ll admit bias up front. Having said that, this is an important book not just for its timeliness but also for its documentation of the current political moment that will hopefully serve as guidepost for future historians and political science majors to try to understand the mindset of current observers to the tragedy occurring within the executive branch. Hennessey and Wittes take the reader on a tour of how the executive role has ...more
Paul Frandano
IA magisterial set of timely evidence and important arguments detailing Donald Trump’s assault on decency and American democracy. Despite objections conservative critics have raised about its obvious biases, I would say any bias Hennessey and Wittes (hereafter, H&W) evince are "sanity" biases" rather than caricatured “left liberal” biases. Why ought we not be biased toward a kept presidential commitment to honesty, civility, truth-telling, lawfulness, the separation of powers, deliberation, ...more
Rich McGilvray
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book strikes me as being one of the first serious academic works to look into the deleterious effects the Trump presidency has had on the institution of the American Executive. In short, it is excellently researched by two of the brightest minds of our age and does a great job of summarizing the ways that the 45th President has pushed the limits of the executive. Give it a read - you won't regret it.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Finished: 15.02.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A++++
Politics is not beanbag….it’s hardball.
If you want to make an informed choice at the
ballot box in November 2020 start by looking
under the hood of Trump and his
... Administration in the White House.

My Thoughts

Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I loved this book and found Hennessey and Wittes insightful on both Trump and the history of the Presidency. Many of the norms that Trump has intentionally obliterated are neither statutory nor constitutional, but simply accepted practice. That is definitely something Congress needs to rectify when this country returns to normal. This book is full of facts, citations, and history, and much research was done for this insightful book. The authors tried to and I believe assessed what Trump is doing
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating and insightful look at the institution of the American presidency and how it has been changed through history, as well as the impact Donald Trump has had on the norms associated with it. The authors discuss a variety of topics including the oath the president swears to, ethics, corruption, foreign policy, pardons, etc. as well as how the president is reigned in by law, ethics and/or norms. The postscript was particularly educational as the authors looked at the Ukraine ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book that I have read on the impact that Trump is having on America, especially the office of the President. Hennessey and Wittes do an excellent job in detailing where there is historical precedence for the actions that are a daily occurrence under the Trump administration. Items like: being bound by the presidential oath, lying, foreign policy by relationship and chaos, the Justice Department used to protect friends and attack enemies, and making money while President are all covered ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Another pampered brat using big words like "war" just to call attention to their tantrum. And yea, the mandate is not over and they already have ALL the data.
Roger Taylor
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent analysis of the Trump Presidency as the first four year term nears its end. It reveals how very different this President has been in rejecting the normal use of Presidential powers in exchange for placing a much more personal stamp on the office especially in terms of the conduct of foreign policy culminating in the scandal over Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry. The author also demonstrates how Trump has used his many powers to pardon friends and punish enemies. Certainly every ...more
Alan Frankel
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be required reading for anyone who plans to vote in 2020 and a call to those who don't plan to vote to help save democracy.
Kristy Parker
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The authors do an excellent job of using the deviant Trump presidency to give a broader civics lesson about the presidency itself. While the Trump presidency is abnormal in almost every way — and an explicit challenge to the idea that we are a democratic republic — Trump is not the first to have exposed many of the holes in our system for keeping the presidency from becoming a monarchy. Rather, he has blasted them open. Pay particular attention to the chapters on Trump’s disregard for his oath ...more
Arthur M.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A cold hard look at the mechanisms of the U.S. executive branch and how they can be used and abused.

There’s also an interesting style choice of alternating gender pronouns referring to hypothetical individuals rather than the genderless they/them.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this the day of, and the day after, the senate voted not to admit witnesses and documents to the impeachment trial proceedings was difficult knowing much of the “what happens next”. However, re-contextualizing what has happened this last lifetime of Trump’s presidency, and yes, the historical backdrop for it, was I think as or more important at this time as any.

As a listener of Rational Security, the audible production read by the authors was also fabulous.
Csimplot Simplot
Excellent book!!!
Andre Masnari
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two books that should be read to understand this presidency: The Fifth Risk, which deals with the loss of civil servants under Trump and the hollowing out of institutions like the state department, and this one, which focuses on how Trump is fundamentally changing the office of President.
Jim Twombly
Packed with detail, but drags a bit in places. Another important read.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very scary must read
Mary T
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trump in context.
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Feb 21, 2020
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Feb 16, 2020
Bryan Hickman
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Feb 26, 2020
Mark Sinnott
rated it it was amazing
Feb 06, 2020
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Feb 23, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2020
Shirley I Miller
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Jan 21, 2020
Sheila Burton
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Jan 28, 2020
John M
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Feb 24, 2020
Katline Craig
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Dec 15, 2019
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