Reviews for Betrayal

by Jonathan Karl

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In the follow-up to Front Row at the Trump Show, the ABC News political correspondent delivers fresh news on the last months of the Trump presidency.On Jan. 6, 2021, Karl called John Kelly and asked whether Trump, having lost the election, would leave office when his term expired. Kelly answered, Oh, hell leave. And if he refuses to leave, there are people who will escort him out. What emerges in these pages is that while quiet patriots coaxed Trump to acquiesce, there were also plenty of enablers who encouraged him to stay, from the crazies in Rudy Giulianis retinue to the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. Karl breaks plenty of news. For example, while its true that Trump was the rare president who didnt attend his successors inauguration, its because Mitch McConnell specifically disinvited him. Trump caught wind beforehand and, in his last tweet, announced that he would not be attending of his own will, which earned him a permanent suspension from Twitter on the grounds that the tweet was being interpreted by his supporters as a message that he still didnt consider Bidens victory legitimate. Furthermore, although no one will go on record confirming it, members of the Cabinet almost certainly discussed how to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office (Trump, of course, vigorously denies it). William Barr, the attorney general who seemed to be Trumps chief legal enabler, emerges as someone who, at the end of his time in the job, resisted Trump; the same is true of Mark Milley and the heads of the armed services, who Trump assumed would back his power grab. In addition, Trump was itching for a war with Iran as yet another excuse to stay in power. You really cant make it up, the author remarksan irony, considering the cloud-cuckooland the Trump administration inhabited.Karls message is clear: Trump was bad news, but it could have been much worse. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

After dozens of tell-all books by political journalists and scholars, administration insiders and outliers, Karl’s sequel to his Front Row at the Trump Show (2020) is newly revelatory in a surprising way. Karl openly admits his own amazement at just how unhinged, paranoid, vengeful, and craven the last year of the Trump administration truly was. With a lengthy career covering Washington politics and the administrations of four presidents, Karl should be jaded by his long exposure to DC’s excesses. Instead, with each new fly-on-the-Oval-Office-wall vignette of corruption and lunacy, Karl unabashedly shares his reaction to these heinous acts and callous behaviors. Peeling back the slimy onion layers of the rotting Trump regime may be America’s new parlor-punditry game, so it says a lot that such a seen-and-heard-it-all journalist as Karl can still be shocked. Presumably he has a high tolerance level and an acutely refined BS detector, so the fact that his negative reactions are palpable is a reliable indicator of just how dangerous Trump and his acolytes are to the safety of our democracy. Karl subtitles his book, “The Final Act of the Trump Show,” but as Trump continues to pursue his shadow presidency and promote his “stop the steal” grift, he sure seems to be setting the stage for more acts to follow.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In the follow-up to Front Row at the Trump Show, the ABC News political correspondent delivers fresh news on the last months of the Trump presidency. On Jan. 6, 2021, Karl called John Kelly and asked whether Trump, having lost the election, would leave office when his term expired. Kelly answered, “Oh, he’ll leave. And if he refuses to leave, there are people who will escort him out.” What emerges in these pages is that while quiet patriots coaxed Trump to acquiesce, there were also plenty of enablers who encouraged him to stay, from “the crazies” in Rudy Giuliani’s retinue to the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. Karl breaks plenty of news. For example, while it’s true that Trump was the rare president who didn’t attend his successor’s inauguration, it’s because Mitch McConnell specifically disinvited him. Trump caught wind beforehand and, in his last tweet, announced that he would not be attending of his own will, which earned him a permanent suspension from Twitter on the grounds that the tweet “was being interpreted by his supporters as a message that he still didn’t consider Biden’s victory legitimate.” Furthermore, although no one will go on record confirming it, members of the Cabinet almost certainly discussed how to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office (Trump, of course, vigorously denies it). William Barr, the attorney general who seemed to be Trump’s chief legal enabler, emerges as someone who, at the end of his time in the job, resisted Trump; the same is true of Mark Milley and the heads of the armed services, who Trump assumed would back his power grab. In addition, Trump was itching for a war with Iran as yet another excuse to stay in power. “You really can’t make it up,” the author remarks—an irony, considering the cloud-cuckooland the Trump administration inhabited. Karl’s message is clear: Trump was bad news, but it could have been much worse. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.