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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

Book Review: Enough

from the series Something I Said…


a photo of the author
Dwight Hobbes

Cassidy Hutchinson flipped everyone out, breaking ranks with Donald Trump at the House Committee hearing over January 6th’s insurrection debacle. Here, she had been White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ assistant, knew all the dirt and came clean. Trump claimed he didn’t even know her. Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews tweeted, “Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump [White House] worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is.” Enough (Simon & Schuster) puts the lie to Trump’s dismissing Hutchinson and traces, from her perspective, just what went on before, during and after the attempted insurrection. At length, Hutchinson’s testimony detailed Meadows’s, Trump’s, and other White House officials’ knowledge of the danger the January 6, 2021 rally participants posed, their activities as the Capitol riot happened, and what they did in the days after it.

The book should’ve cut to the chase and been shorter. She takes up three chapters on how she grew up in New Jersey. Who cares? Enough’s significance isn’t her autobiography. It’s her impact on the most scandalous event since Richard Nixon failed to burn the Watergate tape incriminating him in 1972’s Democratic Party headquarters burglary. Recounting Trump’s erratic behavior and state of mind behind the January 6 scenes constitute a smoking gun. “I can hear the president roaring, “Take the fucking mags down.” He swings an arm toward the TV monitors. “Look at all those people in the trees”. He points into the park. “They want to come in. Let them.” She relates, “Images of the Capitol flash through my mind. The rioters, like feral animals, ransacking and vandalizing the beautiful halls of our Capitol. Members of Congress…sheltering under furniture, in closets, wherever they could find refuge.” And recalls thinking, “They’re calling for the vice president to be hanged. The president is okay with it. …He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong. …This is crazy.”

Jacket design: Jackie Seow
Jacket photograph by Stephen Voss for Simon & Schuster

To the last, she showed integrity, loyal to perhaps a fault. Her mother tearfully begged her not to follow the fiasco’s aftermath to Florida, but Hutchinson replied, “I have to go. I’ve already committed. The boss needs good people around him. The only reason today happened is because we let bad people, crazy people, around him. I need to try to fix [it].” The baddest, craziest one, of course, was running the show. In charge of it, anyway, because no one had control.

Naysayers charged out of the woodwork to discredit her once Hutchinson was done testifying. Rep. Jim Banks, for instance, railed, “The sham Committee’s star witness is already discredited less than 24 hours after her testimony. It was all hearsay. This is the Russia hoax playbook. Democrats’ media allies are simply repeating their outrageous and evidence-free accusations.” Right: she was suddenly a Russian stooge.

In a sane world, common sense would dictate that by the time she got done with her two-hour testimony Donald Trump’s goose would’ve been cooked. Politics and legal machinations do not, of course, allow for something trivial as the simple truth.

Minnesota comes up at an interesting juncture with Trump trying to hide catching the contagion he swore didn’t exist. “We were returning to Washington from…the campaign trail…that had started with a fundraiser in Minneapolis and ended with a big rally in Duluth. I noticed how exhausted POTUS looked.” Not long after, Trump gave in to advice that if he didn’t admit getting sick, word would leak and he’d better get in front of it as much as he could.

Bottom line, she was loyal to Donald Trump and to America, but when push came to shove, Cassidy Hutchinson’s conscience sided with her country.

Dwight Hobbes is a long-time Twin Cities journalist and essayist.

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