Reviews for Thank You For Your Servitude

by Mark Leibovich

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Relive the Trump administration from the perspectives of the toadies who enabled it.Veteran New York Times Washington reporter Leibovich focuses the narrative on the Sean Spicers, Kellyanne Conways, [and] any of the other Washington C-listers who were bumped temporarily up to B-list status by their proximity to Donald J. Trump. Everywhere he looks, he finds White House aides and GOP leaders privately bemoaning the president while publicly defending him. It doesnt take deep political acumen to figure out the root of this hypocrisy: Playing nice with a demonstrably inept, petty, and heartless leader was a path to power. As a result, the authors chronicle of the Trump era, from the early debates through the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, is light on analysis and heavier on portraits of the cowards. For example, a panicky Spicer, Trumps first lie-peddling press secretary, demanded that Leibovich not write that he puts on makeup before going on TV. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions steps into the attorney general role terrified and shaken, like a beagle in a thunderstorm. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan recalls sobbing over the Capitol insurrection while dodging his complicity in Trumps rise. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham proves the most craven of all, if more honest about his consistent aspiration to try to be relevant. GOP push back, when it existed, came from those who had little to lose politically (Mitt Romney), were near death (John McCain), or principled enough to jump ship (Liz Cheney). Leibovich ably captures this milieu, and he's cleareyed about Trumps dangers. However, that awareness sometimes clashes with his breezy, Twitter-dunk-style delivery, which emphasizes the sideshow at the expense of the crisis. Now that the GOP is more cult than political party, one former Republican congressman noted that its main approach to Trump is just waiting for him to die, a strategy more pathetic than funny.A thorough if sometimes glib account of a disastrous presidency. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.