On January 6, Americans were mortified to see Trump loyalists overrun the police guarding Congress while it certified Biden’s electoral victory over President Trump. Driven by ridiculous conspiracy theories resulting in more than 60 failed court challenges and Trump himself, the rioters poured into the Congressional chambers, murdering a police officer and wounding others, threatening the safety of Congress, and seeking to overturn the people’s democratic decision to elect Biden as president. It was nothing short of an insurrection, though thankfully an inept one. Nonetheless, the transition between Biden and Trump was one of the most dangerous periods in American history, more dangerous than most people know.
PERIL by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa takes you behind the scenes of the failed January 6 putsch. Based on interviews of more than 200 people at the center of the insanity and a vast trove of documents, the book describes how simultaneously resilient and fragile our republic is. You’ll learn how Trump was a polarizing figure even inside his own party and administration with a portrait of a psychopath with narcissistic personality disorder–and that’s just how the Republicans in the book describe him. How he simply refused to accept Biden won, making him prone to an unhinged Rudy Guliani and a crowd of conspiracy theorists and grifters selling a story about the election being stolen. How fascists in the administration wanted Trump to declare martial law. How Trump viciously turned on Mike Pence, his most loyal supporter, when Pence would not go along with an insane Constitutional theory the vice president can simply nullify election results the way he sees fit.
You’ll also see how disgusted, horrified, and panicked White House and Congressional insiders in both parties were after the failed insurrection, how military leaders came together to cage Trump so he wouldn’t start a war or use military force against American citizens, how time and time again Trump was his own worst enemy, and how sometimes the only thing holding him back from doing even more damage was a number of stalwarts in the White House who loved the law and Constitution more than they loved their boss.
PERIL is a fascinating read, recommended for people who love our Constitution and republic and have the stomach to revisit January 6.