President Trump appeared on Fox & Friends again this morning, rambling on for 45 minutes until the hosts mercifully told him it was time for him to leave. During his appearance he regaled the audience with a brief, pointed review of Bob Woodward’s Rage. Trump is not a fan. “I actually got to read it last night. I read it very quickly and it was very boring,” he explained.
The “boring” claim is plausible. Like so many other books that have come out, Rage is page after page of Trump advisers recounting the existential terror faced by their grossly unfit president, punctuated by confessions supplied by Trump that confirm the same impression. The subject surely gets tedious even for Donald Trump himself.
The suspicious part is Trump’s claim to have read the entire thing in one evening. Many, many accounts have revealed that Trump has difficulty reading even the briefest summaries. Jim Sciutto’s book, The Madman Theory, amusingly reports that the president’s briefers tried to accommodate his refusal to read intelligence briefings by reducing them to three bullet point summaries on a card, only to figure out that he was only able to make it through the first two bullet points:
Trump has never supplied convincing evidence of having absorbed any book. He often gives pro-Trump books his “endorsement,” but only rarely even says he opened them. One interview more than 30 years ago tried to pin him down on a book he has read, and after trying to say he reread his own book, Trump claimed to have read the book his hosts had just named for him, but then was unable to say anything about the book, including its title, other than that the author “did a great job.”
Now, it is possible lifelong bibliophobe Donald Trump has suddenly embraced a newfound interest in reading, and rather than start with something simple, like a pamphlet, and work his way up, he decided to jump into the reading life with Woodward’s hefty tome. The problem is that Rage comes in at 466 pages. According to Amazon Kindle, it would take 10 hours and 18 minutes to read.
Now, perhaps Trump reads faster than the average person. It would still take him most of the night to read the whole thing, even if he didn’t sleep at all. If he managed to do that, while also finding time to send 13 tweets over the course of the night — a light amount, by his standards — he could theoretically find time for an hour or two of rest before waking up fresh enough to appear on Fox & Friends. Reading is fundamental, but not as fundamental as watching and appearing on Fox News.
If Donald Trump, who might never have read an entire book in his entire adult life, managed to stay up all night reading Woodward’s book, that would be an incredible testament.