New York Magazine

The Babysitter Fallacy

It takes more than “adults in the room” to control a petulant leader.

ONE OF THE MOST BLANDLY UNSETTLING PASSAGES in Bob Woodward’s Fear recounts the near resignation of Gary Cohn, one of the book’s likely sources and (therefore) heroes. In August 2017, Cohn, nauseated at President Trump’s equivocation over neo-Nazis demonstrating in Charlottesville, Virginia, attempted to quit. Trump berated Cohn for his weakness and, characteristically equating political loyalty to himself with loyalty to the country, accused Cohn of “treason.” “It was chilling,” Woodward reports.

Then Trump tried another approach. “If you leave now, taxes are over,” he warned. By this he meant the massive corporate-tax cuts Cohn had helped to craft and from which he also stood to personally benefit. Cohn’s moral outrage began to drain, and he instead decided to stay on, prioritizing the taxes,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from New York Magazine

New York Magazine1 min read
Is It Time to Try Blue Teeth?
› TEETH, by conventional wisdom, are best when you’re not forced to think about them. On a good day they’re pain-free, whitish, and useful for eating. But what if teeth were actually tiny porcelain opportunities for self-expression? Right in our mout
New York Magazine3 min read
History As Horror Show
THE TERROR: INFAMY AMC. MONDAYS. 9 P.M. AMC’S THE TERROR: INFAMY, a horror fantasy set against the backdrop of Japanese-American internment, is the kind of story in which metaphors turn literal. Among the most unnerving images is that of a Japane
New York Magazine4 min readFood & Wine
Izakaya en Français
At Maison Yaki, the skewers are Japanese, the sauces are French, and the portions are tiny.