Jonathan Karl tells the story of Trump's downfall, complete with behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the darkest days in the history of the American presidency and packed with original reporting and on-the-record interviews with central figures in this drama who are telling their stories for the first time.
Karl’s sobering, solid, account of Trump’s last year in office sheds new light on how the man who lost the presidency nearly succeeded in overthrowing the 2020 election. Anyone who thinks that 'it can’t happen here,' ought to read this book ... Karl prides himself on his scoops, which have gotten lots of play in the media, but even more valuable is his coolheaded narrative ... At times, Karl blames this bedlam on the people around Trump rather than the president himself ... Many people in these pages, including Pence, stood up to Trump, and Karl tells their story well. But when Karl states 'the system held. Democracy prevailed,' the image of the raptors in Jurassic Park testing the fences for weaknesses comes to mind.
Riveting and horrifying ... Karl gets members of Trump’s cabinet to speak on the record. They paint a portrait of a wrath-filled president, untethered from reality, bent on revenge ... Betrayal concludes with words of warning. Karl rightly contends that Trump’s 'betrayal' of American democracy highlighted 'just how vulnerable' the system is.
Karl...adds substantially to the record of this parlous period — especially in the chaos of its final months. Karl has interviewed key players inside the White House and in Trump's Cabinet who can reveal how the president leaned on them to help him and how he gave himself over to ever-more-exotic legal strategies and advisers ... Karl often relies on insights gleaned from his March interview with the former president at Mar-a-Lago. Trump sat down with some of the reporters who have since written scathing accounts of his last year in office ... Some readers may pause at times at Karl's references to himself and description of his placement and attitude at various event ... He often includes himself 'in the shot' when describing a scene. But, in fairness, the hyper-competitive world of broadcast journalism truly does make self-promotion an imperative ... On substance, and on the most important subject in Betrayal, Karl shows no hesitance or equivocation. Karl sees Trump as a past, present and future threat to the orderly process of American politics ... It may not quite qualify as comic relief, but Karl also has some delicious material from Trump's 'briefing sessions' prior to the debates with Biden last fall. Karl treats readers to lengthy excerpts of the debate prep ... Enough of this material is new, or renewed in Karl's retelling, that it can all be compelling to read once again – even for those who have read more Trump books than they can count on their fingers.