Fear: Trump in the White House

Fear: Trump in the White House

by Bob Woodward


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With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.

Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501175510
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 36,269
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for forty-seven years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2003 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored eighteen books, all of which have been national nonfiction bestsellers. Twelve of those have been #1 national bestsellers. 


Washington, D.C.

Date of Birth:

March 26, 1943

Place of Birth:

Geneva, Illinois


B.A., Yale University, 1965

Read an Excerpt


  • In August 2010, six years before taking over Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, Steve Bannon, then 57 and a producer of right-wing political films, answered his phone.

    “What are you doing tomorrow?” asked David Bossie, a longtime House Republican investigator and conservative activist who had chased Bill and Hillary Clinton scandals for almost two decades.

    “Dude,” Bannon replied, “I’m cutting these fucking films I’m making for you.”

    The 2010 midterm congressional elections were coming up. It was the height of the Tea Party movement and Republicans were showing momentum.

    “Dave, we’re literally dropping two more films. I’m editing. I’m working 20 hours a day” at Citizens United, the conservative political action committee Bossie headed, to churn out his anti-Clinton films.

    “Can you come with me up to New York?”

    “For what?”

    “To see Donald Trump,” Bossie said.

    “What about?”

    “He’s thinking of running for president,” Bossie said.

    “Of what country?” Bannon asked.

    No, seriously, Bossie insisted. He had been meeting and working with Trump for months. Trump had asked for a meeting.

    “I don’t have time to jerk off, dude,” Bannon said. “Donald Trump’s never running for president. Forget it. Against Obama? Forget it. I don’t have time for fucking nonsense.”

    “Don’t you want to meet him?”

    “No, I have no interest in meeting him.” Trump had once given Bannon a 30-minute interview for his Sunday-afternoon radio show, called The Victory Sessions, which Bannon had run out of Los Angeles and billed as “the thinking man’s radio show.”

    “This guy’s not serious,” Bannon said.

    “I think he is serious,” Bossie said. Trump was a TV celebrity and had a famous show, The Apprentice, that was number one on NBC some weeks. “There’s no downside for us to go and meet with him.”

    Bannon finally agreed to go to New York City to Trump Tower.

    They rode up to the 26th floor conference room. Trump greeted them warmly, and Bossie said he had a detailed presentation. It was a tutorial.

    The first part, he said, lays out how to run in a Republican primary and win. The second part explains how to run for president of the United States against Barack Obama. He described standard polling strategies and discussed process and issues. Bossie was a traditional, limited-government conservative and had been caught by surprise by the Tea Party movement.

    It was an important moment in American politics, Bossie said, and Tea Party populism was sweeping the country. The little guy was getting his voice. Populism was a grassroots movement to disrupt the political status quo in favor of everyday people.

    “I’m a business guy,” Trump reminded them. “I’m not a professional ladder-climber in politics.”

    “If you’re going to run for president,” Bossie said, “you have to know lots of little things and lots of big things.” The little things were filing deadlines, the state rules for primaries—minutiae. “You have to know the policy side, and how to win delegates.” But first, he said, “you need to understand the conservative movement.”

    Trump nodded.

    “You’ve got some problems on issues,” Bossie said.

    “I don’t have any problems on issues,” Trump said. “What are you talking about?”

    “First off, there’s never been a guy to win a Republican primary that’s not pro-life,” Bossie said. “And unfortunately, you’re very pro-choice.”

    “What does that mean?”

    “You have a record of giving to the abortion guys, the pro-choice candidates. You’ve made statements. You’ve got to be pro-life, against abortion.”

    “I’m against abortion,” Trump said. “I’m pro-life.”

    “Well, you’ve got a track record.”

    “That can be fixed,” Trump said. “You just tell me how to fix that. I’m—what do you call it? Pro-life. I’m pro-life, I’m telling you.”

    Bannon was impressed with the showmanship, and increasingly so as Trump talked. Trump was engaged and quick. He was in great physical shape. His presence was bigger than the man, and took over the room, a command presence. He had something. He was also like a guy in a bar talking to the TV. Street-smart, from Queens. In Bannon’s evaluation, Trump was Archie Bunker, but a really focused Archie Bunker.

    “The second big thing,” Bossie said, “is your voting record.”

    “What do you mean, my voting record?”

    “About how often you vote.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Well,” Bossie said, “this is a Republican primary.”

    “I vote every time,” Trump said confidently. “I’ve voted every time since I was 18, 20 years old.”

    “That’s actually not correct. You know there’s a public record of your vote.” Bossie, the congressional investigator, had a stack of records.

    “They don’t know how I vote.”

    “No, no, no, not how you vote. How often you vote.”

    Bannon realized that Trump did not know the most rudimentary business of politics.

    “I voted every time,” Trump insisted.

    “Actually you’ve never voted in a primary except once in your entire life,” Bossie said, citing the record.

    “That’s a fucking lie,” Trump said. “That’s a total lie. Every time I get to vote, I voted.”

    “You only voted in one primary,” Bossie said. “It was like in 1988 or something, in the Republican primary.”

    “You’re right,” Trump said, pivoting 180 degrees, not missing a beat. “That was for Rudy.” Giuliani ran for mayor in a primary in 1989. “Is that in there?”


    “I’ll get over that,” Trump said.

    “Maybe none of these things matter,” Bossie said, “but maybe they do. If you’re going to move forward, you have to be methodical.”

    Bannon was up next. He turned to what was driving the Tea Party, which didn’t like the elites. Populism was for the common man, knowing the system is rigged. It was against crony capitalism and insider deals which were bleeding the workers.

    “I love that. That’s what I am,” Trump said, “a popularist.” He mangled the word.

    “No, no,” Bannon said. “It’s populist.”

    “Yeah, yeah,” Trump insisted. “A popularist.”

    Bannon gave up. At first he thought Trump did not understand the word. But perhaps Trump meant it in his own way—being popular with the people. Bannon knew popularist was an earlier British form of the word “populist” for the nonintellectual general public.

    An hour into the meeting, Bossie said, “We have another big issue.”

    “What’s that?” Trump asked, seeming a little more wary.

    “Well,” he said, “80 percent of the donations that you’ve given have been to Democrats.” To Bossie that was Trump’s biggest political liability, though he didn’t say so.

    “That’s bullshit!”

    “There’s public records,” Bossie said.

    “There’s records of that!” Trump said in utter astonishment.

    “Every donation you’ve ever given.” Public disclosure of all political giving was standard.

    “I’m always even,” Trump said. He divided his donations to candidates from both parties, he said.

    “You actually give quite a bit. But it’s 80 percent Democratic. Chicago, Atlantic City . . .”

    “I’ve got to do that,” Trump said. “All these fucking Democrats run all the cities. You’ve got to build hotels. You’ve got to grease them. Those are people who came to me.”

    “Listen,” Bannon said, “here’s what Dave’s trying to say. Running as a Tea Party guy, the problem is that’s what they are complaining about. That it’s guys like you that have inside deals.”

    “I’ll get over that,” Trump said. “It’s all rigged. It’s a rigged system. These guys have been shaking me down for years. I don’t want to give. They all walk in. If you don’t write a check . . .”

    There was a pol in Queens, Trump said, “an old guy with a baseball bat. You go in there and you’ve got to give him something—normally in cash. If you don’t give him anything, nothing gets done. Nothing gets built. But if you take it in there and you leave him an envelope, it happens. That’s just the way it is. But I can fix that.”

    Bossie said he had a roadmap. “It’s the conservative movement. Tea Party comes and goes. Populism comes and goes. The conservative movement has been a bedrock since Goldwater.”

    Second, he said, I would recommend you run as if you are running for governor in three states—Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. They were the first three caucus or primary states. “Run and sound local, like you want to be their governor.” A lot of candidates made the huge mistake of trying to run in 27 states. “Run three governor’s races, and you’ll have a really good shot. Focus on three. Do well in three. And the others will come.”

    “I can be the nominee,” Trump said. “I can beat these guys. I don’t care who they are. I got this. I can take care of these other things.”

    Each position could be revisited, renegotiated.

    “I’m pro-life,” Trump said. “I’m going to start.”

    “Here’s what you’re going to need to do,” Bossie said. “You’re going to need to write between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of individual checks to congressmen and senators. They’ll all come up here. Look them in the eye, shake their hand. You’re going to give them a check. Because we need some markers. You’ve got to do one-on-ones so these guys know. Because later on, that’ll be at least an entry point that you’re building relationships.”

    Bossie continued, “Saying, this check is for you. For $2,400”—the maximum amount. “It’s got to be individual checks, hard money, to their campaign so they know it’s coming from you personally. Republicans now know that you’re going to be serious about this.”

    All the money, Bossie said, was central to the art of presidential politics. “Later that’s going to pay huge dividends.” Give to Republican candidates in a handful of battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.

    In addition, Bossie said, “You’re going to have to do a policy book. You ought to do a book about what you think about America and these policies.”

    Bannon gave an extended brief on China and its successful efforts to take jobs and money from the United States. He was obsessed with the threat.

    “What do you think?” Bossie later asked Bannon.

    “I’m pretty impressed with the guy,” Bannon said. As for running for president, “Zero chance. First off, those two action items. The fucker will not write one check. He’s not a guy who writes checks. He signs the back of checks” when they come in as payments to him. “It was good you said that because he’ll never write a check.”

    “What about the policy book?”

    “He’ll never do a policy book. Give me a fucking break. First off, nobody will buy it. It was a waste of time except for the fact that it was insanely entertaining.”

    Bossie said he was trying to prepare Trump if he ever did decide to run. Trump had a unique asset: He was totally removed from the political process.

    As they walked on, Bossie found himself going through a mental exercise, one that six years later most Americans would go through. He’ll never run. He’ll never file. He’ll never announce. He’ll never file his financial disclosure statement. Right? He’ll never do any of those things. He’ll never win.

    “You think he’s going to run?” Bossie finally asked Bannon.

    “Not a chance. Zero chance,” Bannon repeated. “Less than zero. Look at the fucking life he’s got, dude. Come on. He’s not going to do this. Get his face ripped off.”

  • Customer Reviews

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    Fear: Trump in the White House 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    What a great read! Woodward exposes the wreck of the Trumptanic brilliantly. And Lordy he has the tapes to back up every word of it!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Frightening...Trump wants to move the missile detection system we have in place in South Korea to Portland, Oregon. It would only take 38 minutes for a missile to hit L.A. if this move happens. Better stock up on your comfort food...not enough time to shop, and get home to eat it before we are in a state of emergency.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    As a boomer, i have a lot of crazy and shocking things that our leaders have done. This book exposes our current leader for what he is and i don't for a minute think that this is fake news.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Told as only Bob Woodward can . I had to read in sections, I kept getting so angry.
    CasperAZ More than 1 year ago
    EXPLOSIVE! This book was just released today, so, I purchased it this morning and I finished reading this explosive book this afternoon. The author, Bob Woodward, is THE Bob Woodward who wrote the famous book about Watergate. I'm sure this book will reach #1 on the NY Times Best Seller list in no time flat. Trump calls Jeff Sessions "a dumb Southerner" who is mentally retarded and an idiot. He has a vendetta against the Attorney General for recusing himself from the Russian collusion investigation. Former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, calls Donald Trump a "(censored) moron." There are plenty of berating attacks on the President's conduct in the White House but the most confident one comes from John Dowd who became, but later resigned, as Trump's lawyer during the Mueller investigation. John Dowd said he could only wish that he could tell the President to his face: "You're a (censored) liar!"
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Hard to put down! Great reporting.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Outstanding journalism. Book reads very well. I have not finished but it is even better than the previews released. I have ignored the other 'Trump' books because I was uncertain of the credibility of the author. Bob Woodward has proven over and over again to be an honorable, factual reporter. Up until the publication of this book even Donald Trump respected him. I have lived through quite a few presidencies but never one like this. Even if I didn't agree with the President's position I have always respected the office and the person holding it. This is no longer true. It is clear that we have a President with no morality. An extreme narcissist. No empathy or respect for others. Has a life pattern of disregarding laws of man and of morality. Cheating small business men, bullying, pathological liar, no respect for women. Much of his propaganda is very similar to that espoused by the Nazis. Read this and see the truth. It is scary but we still have time to change by voting our conscience.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I'm loving it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I expected deeper insight into a president who is obviously ignorant and possibly mentally ill. Instead I got reinforcement of facts already leaked through various media by warring factions, past and present, in the west wing. I am still waiting for someone to expose Trump's old time flimflam man nature and lack of basic knowledge that allows people, domestic and foreign, to use him to further their agendas as long as he appears to win. I thought that Woodward was the one who could. Not this time.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I've taken most text written about this current administration with a grain of salt, although so much of it makes sense. As an investigative journalist and author, Woodward is about as credible as it gets which made reading this so difficult. It is extremely well-written and if even a small fraction of the content is true, we are in for a rough few years and then some.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    DJT is the most corrupt and mentally unfit President in the history of this Republic. Read this book if you care about America’s future.
    nookreaderTJ More than 1 year ago
    Finally, a book that explains why I can't sleep at night. Thank you, Bob Woodward.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    GREAT READ! I'm fully convinced the detailed condition of the oval office, the President and it's administration dysfunctional organization, lack of co-operation between the department, and lack of confidence in the President to run this GREAT nation has been perfectly articulated by the author.
    Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
    A Must Read. I found this book really hard to read, not because I didn't understand it, but because I was continually dumbfounded that this man was elected as our President. I have voted in every election since I was able to and even thought not every time did the candidate that I supported win, I never before felt the constant anxiety I do now. I don't know how Bob Woodward got these people talking, but if that doesn't scare you I am not what does. Its not just Trumps inability to tell the truth, and there are plenty of examples, but I also question the people in power who support him, greed definitely over country. Maybe this all needed to happen to shed a much needed light to show the corruption of the government? Defiantly a wake up call, a must read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Take 20% off coupons from 100promo.com
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    insightful but lacking drama. we see what what we got.....a liar with severe problems. but he can still be effective. really just more depressing news about a dysfunctional and dangerous presidency.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Truly frightening and it gets worse everyday!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Thought there was going to be more in this book then what we already know.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Authenticated , detailed, with great insight into the chaos in the White House. Should be required reading for anyone thinking they can do the President's job. There is a reason for protocol, a reason for hierarchy, a reason for having experts. Unfortunately, Trump ignores all those reasons. This book clearly shows how disfunction will make its way into the American economy.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Expected more than what i already knew.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I thought there would be more new information. However, good information for a bad administration.
    glauver More than 1 year ago
    Legendary reporter Bob Woodward specializes in writing running chronicles of presidents as their administrations progress. Fear: Trump in the White House seems to reflect its subject's chaos and disorganization. I have no doubt of its veracity, but I wish Woodward had given the book more structure. He leaped from one crisis or debacle to another and back again until I felt disoriented. It would have been better had he placed areas like foreign policy, the economy, and the Mueller investigation into sections. I also thought Woodward should have given more background about the participants. Why were key players like Bannon, Kelly, Tillerson, Cohn, and Priebus selected? Why did they expect a master of chaos and raging egomaniac like Trump to pay any attention to them if they told him he was wrong? You probably should read Fear, but understand that it can be a bumpy ride. I wish I could go higher than 3 stars because I believe this book is important, but I can't.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Most of this was on various media throughout the last couple of years. Probably true nevertheless.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I have purchased and read Bob Woodward's latest creation "Fear." I must say it is quite enlightening and scary. This is history in the making. You must read this book. I could not put it down!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Interesting reading but sources and credibility questionable and unclear. The further i read the worse the editing seemed. Just oddly put together. Was hoping for more.