Must-Read: Ezra Klein: Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” is a damning portrait of an unfit president: "It would be easy enough for Trump to run a presidency that left him better-liked...

...work with “Chuck and Nancy,” ease up on the culture war, give some gentler speeches.... There has never been a president for whom the bar is lower.... It would be so easy for him to clear it, and there are people around him, like Jared and Ivanka and Cohn and Powell and Mnuchin, who would happily act as guides and cheerleaders. But he doesn’t.... Why? Wolff’s book doesn’t provide a satisfying answer....

He cannot perform his job well enough to be liked or respected, but he only wanted the job in the first place because it would force the whole world to like and respect him—and he is being driven to rage and paranoia by the resulting dissonance, disappointment, and hurt.... A more capable, competent, and stable person would, by now, have either changed their behavior to receive more of the response they crave or given up on getting the response they crave. But Trump appears to exist in an unhappy middle ground, rage-tweeting through his mornings, retreating to his golf club on weekends, searching for the validation he craves in his Twitter feed and on Fox & Friends but never getting it from the elite tastemakers he’s always sought to impress.

The pressures of the presidency would be enough to break almost anyone, but Trump is less suited to the work, and to the backlash, than most. The strain is already showing—Trump’s workday, reportedly, has shrunk to a gentle 11 am to 6 pm. But the bulk of his first term remains, and it could include his financial secrets being revealed to the world, his family being indicted, a crisis he mishandles exploding into a catastrophe. The question now—the question of Wolff’s book and of our future—is whether Trump’s staff can keep governing around him, whether a dysfunctional president can nevertheless have a semi-functional White House.

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