Some of what we learn is weird and disturbing but not consequential:
He retreated to his own bedroom — the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms. In the first days, he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room. He reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: “If my shirt is on the floor, it’s because I want it on the floor.” Then he imposed a set of new rules: Nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed.
Some is amusing. (Ivanka reportedly mocks Trump’s hairdo — an elaborate, gravity-defying comb-over.) Some is hardly new. (Ivanka and Jared are both incompetent and unable to control him in any meaningful sense.) And some is potentially incriminating, if true (no evidence so far suggests Trump met directly with Russians peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton):
“The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” said an astonished and derisive [Stephen K.] Bannon, not long after the [Trump Tower] meeting was revealed. “The three senior guys in the campaign,” an incredulous Bannon went on, “thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s–t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Mostly, however, the book is utterly humiliating for the enablers, the deniers, the Trump-whisperers, the right-wing media and ultimately the voters who put this character in the Oval Office. Willful denial explains part of it. But what’s the excuse, now that they know who he is, for allowing him to stay? The book should also inform how the press interviews him. We know he’s unhinged, so acting as his stenographer is not elucidating. Seeing what he knows, how much of a grasp of details he commands, how he reacts when challenged and the degree to which his short-term memory may be off is, it seems, where we should direct our attention.