Apr 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Peter Baker, Susan Glasser to publish sweeping history of Trump presidency

Susan Glasser and Peter Baker book

Cover: Doubleday

Peter Baker and Susan Glasser will be out Sept. 20 with a sweeping history of the Trump presidency, "The Divider," billed as "an ambitious first cut at this historical moment."

The backdrop: Baker, who is chief White House correspondent for The New York Times (and taught me to play poker back when we were both young Richmond correspondents), and Glasser, a staff writer for The New Yorker who wrote its weekly "Letter from Trump's Washington," have covered every president starting with President Bill Clinton.

Why it matters: The book aims to show Jan. 6 "was no violent outlier, but the inexorable culmination of four years of attacks on the institutions and traditions of American democracy," a forthcoming announcement says.

  • "The Divider" is based on 300 interviews with White House officials, campaign advisers, cabinet officers, senators, House members, generals, diplomats, doctors and family members + two sit-down sessions with former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

This is the couple's third book together.

  • Their first, "Kremlin Rising," published in 2005, was an early look at Vladimir Putin's Russia from their time as Moscow bureau chiefs for The Washington Post.
  • Their second was "The Man Who Ran Washington," the bestselling biography of James A. Baker III, published in 2020.

Susan Glasser told me: "This is the first and so far only four-year history of Trump in the White House — a story that is even more mind-blowing and revelatory when you see it all laid out. We aimed to do what Lou Cannon did for Ronald Reagan or John Harris for Bill Clinton — take a first crack at an authoritative account of a consequential presidency. "

  • "The difference here is that it's also urgent reading, not just history but current events."
  • "Every day, you see the former president and his backers trying to rewrite the story of what happened when he was in the White House, which makes this an even more important project than when we set out."

Peter Baker added: "We actually originally launched this as a book about the first impeachment in 2019. But obviously it evolved as the presidency did. And ultimately we decided to try something no one else has done, which is capture the full four-year story."

  • "[W]e basically have been working on it full-time since the day after the second impeachment trial last February."

More about the book.

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