When Donald Trump visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial in November, 2017, he asked his then-Chief of Staff John Kelly, “What’s this all about? What’s this a tour of?”
In fact, Trump knew the name “Pearl Harbor,” but seemed ignorant regarding what had happened there. He did not appear to know that the memorial commemorated the Japanese attack on the United States Navy base at the Hawaiian site in an attack that immediately drove the U.S. into World War II.
At least, that is the account described in a new book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters for The Washington Post, set to be published next week.
The missive, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, “is intended to reveal Trump at his most unvarnished,” authors Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig write, as quoted in a report on the book that appeared Wednesday in The Post. Rucker and Leonnig also stated that their book exposes how Trump’s decision-making process has been based on his own “self-centered and unthinking logic.”
According to the book, during his visit to Pearl Harbor, Trump appeared to understand that some sort of historic battle occurred at the site, but he “did not seem to know much else.”
“He was at times dangerously uninformed,” one senior White House advisor told the authors, as quoted in Wednesday’s Post report on the book.
The book also contains a bizarre anecdote relayed by former Trump administration Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who served just 11 days in his post before resigning in a controversy over profane comments he made to a reporter. Since then, Scaramucci has become one of Trump’s most outspoken critics among conservatives, even once describing his former boss as a “traitor.”
According to an episode in the book quoted by MediaIte, Scaramucci once asked Trump if his public persona was “an act.” Trump then freely admitted that it was, indeed, an act — and he was amazed that the American public had not caught on to him.
“I’m a total act and I don’t understand why people don’t get it,” Trump told Scaramucci, according to the account in Rucker and Leonnig’s book.
The book’s title refers to the description Trump has offered of himself in response to criticisms that he is uninformed and mentally unstable. For those matter, he refers to himself as a “very stable genius.”
The book also recounts Trump’s extreme eagerness to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in person. According to the book, during his transition after the 2016 election, in a job interview with a candidate under consideration for Secretary of State, Trump suddenly interrupted the interview to ask, “When can I meet Putin? Can I meet with him before the inaugural ceremony?”