Major Garrett has been reporting on the White House for nearly two decades, covering four different presidencies for three news outlets. But if he thought that his distinguished journalistic career had prepared him for the unique challenges of covering Donald Trump, he was in for a surprise.
Like many others in Washington, Garrett found himself having to unlearn many of his own settled notions about the nature and function of the presidency. He also had to separate the carnival-like noise of the Trump presidency from its underlying substance. For even in its first half, Trump’s tenure has been highly consequential.
In Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, Major Garrett provides what journalists are often said to do, but usually don’t: a true first draft of history. His goal was to sift through the mountains of distracting tweets and shrieking headlines in order to focus on the most significant moments of Trump’s young presidency, the ones that Garrett believes will have a lasting impact. The result is an authoritative, mature, and consistently entertaining account of one of the strangest eras in American political history.
A consummate professional with unimpeachable integrity, remarkable storytelling skills, and a deep knowledge of his subject earned through decades of experience, Garrett brings to life the twists and turns of covering this White House and its unconventional occupant with wit, sagacity and style. Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride should place him securely in the first rank of Washington journalists.
Mistakes, malignancies, and some real achievements emerge from the chaos in this rollicking, perceptive history of President Trump's first year in office. Garrett (The Enduring Revolution) observes the Trump administration from his perch as CBS News's White House correspondent, devoting chapters to the warp-speed staff turnovers, uproars over immigration policy and NFL anthem kneelers, and diplomatic U-turns that changed Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from trash-talking enemies into buddies. Drawing on his own encounters with the president, Garrett paints a sharp portrait of Trump's domineering personality. He also explores the president's hidden, fitful processes of governance as they spectacularly fail, as in the collapse of health-care initiatives in Congress, and sometimes work, as in the smooth passage of the "transformative" tax cut bill. Although he allows that covering Trump left him "physically exhausted and mentally traumatized" after the firing of FBI director James Comey, Garrett's assessment of Trump manages the difficult task of being both hard-hitting and even-handed, as well as smartly entertaining. (Trump's deregulatory program, he writes, "has not so much drained the swamp as stocked it with pro-business piranha.") The result is one of the best accounts yet of Trump's impact.