A Historical Perspective On Trump's White House

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A White House in turmoil. A president like no other. We’ll talk leadership and the lessons of history with Pulitzer-prize winner Tom Ricks.

President Donald Trump arrives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
President Donald Trump arrives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Donald Trump has turned to generals from the beginning of his administration. Late last week, he brought one — General John Kelly — on as his chief of staff, with the firing of Reince Priebus. Pulitzer prize-winning military reporter and historian Tom Ricks has been watching. He’s out with a new book on Winston Churchill, George Orwell and the foundations of Western democracy. This hour On Point: Tom Ricks on truth, leadership and the presidency of Donald Trump. -- Tom Ashbrook


Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author. Author of, "Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom." Senior advisor on national security at New America. Contributing Editor to Foreign Policy Magazine. (@tomricks1)

Julie Bykowicz, White House reporter for The Associated Press. (@bykowicz)

From Tom's Reading List

National Review: The Boredom of Chaos — "At what point does a president become too erratic to function? Does the president walk around the White House, wondering why all these bad things keep happening to him through no fault of his own? Does he see himself as a lone, tortured strategic genius constantly held back by the incompetent staff around him? Or can he realize that some of the problems of his White House stem from his own behavior and decision-making?"

Associated Press: Scaramucci tirades ignite smoldering White House tensions — "President Donald Trump’s new communications director exploded the smoldering tensions at the White House into a full-fledged conflagration Thursday, angrily daring Trump’s chief of staff to deny he’s a 'leaker' and exposing West Wing backstabbing in language more suitable to a mobster movie than a seat of presidential stability."

NBC News: Are the Wheels Coming Off Trump’s ‘Fine-Tuned Machine’? — "Accusations of incompetency can undermine even the most talented of politicians. Just ask George W. Bush (Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina) or Barack Obama (HealthCare.Gov). But while the events and news over the last 24 hours seem like just another day for the Trump White House, they expose a level of dysfunction and chaos that could leave a lasting mark for a president who said back in February that he was running a 'fine-tuned machine.'"

Read An Excerpt From "Churchill and Orwell"

This program aired on July 31, 2017.


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