Traitor A history of American betrayal from Benedict Arnold to Donald Trump

David J. Rothkopf, 1955-

Book - 2020

"Political historian and commentator David Rothkopf shows how Trump will be judged by history. (Spoiler alert: not well) in Traitor. Donald Trump is unfit in almost every respect for the high office he holds. But what distinguishes him from every other bad leader the U.S. has had is that he has repeatedly, egregiously, betrayed his country. Regardless of how Senate Republicans have let him off the hook, the facts available to the public show that Trump has met every necessary standard to define his behavior as traitorous. He has clearly broken faith with the people of the country he was chosen to lead, starting long before he took office, then throughout his time in the White House. And we may not yet have seen the last of his crimes. ...But the story we know so far is so outrageous and disturbing that it raises a question that has never before been presented in American history: is the president of the United States the greatest threat this country faces in the world? We also need to understand how the country has historically viewed such crimes and how it has treated them in the past to place what has happened in perspective. After his examination of traitors including Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, and leaders of the Confederacy, David Rothkopf concludes that Donald Trump and his many abettors have committed the highest-level, greatest, most damaging betrayal in the history of the country"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 973.933/Rothkopf Checked In
New York : Thomas Dunne Books [2020]
Main Author
David J. Rothkopf, 1955- (author)
First edition
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
241 pages ; 22 cm
  • Introduction: The Greatest Betrayal in American History
  • 1. Betrayal
  • 2. Aid and Comfort
  • 3. The Wars Within
  • 4. The Shadow of Doubt
  • 5. Adhering to Our Enemies
  • 6. Fractured Trust
  • 7. The Ultimate Betrayal of the Spirit of America's Founders
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this scathing history, Deep State Radio host Rothkopf (The Great Questions of Tomorrow) contends that Donald Trump belongs "among the many Americans in our history who have, for money or ambition, misjudgment or spite, turned their backs on our flag and people." Rothkopf's history of American betrayal includes such well-known figures as Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold and Soviet spy Julius Rosenberg, as well as more obscure traitors such as James Wilkinson, a U.S. military officer and diplomat who sold secrets to Spain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Rothkopf reveals that disputes over deep state cabals and "fake news" have been part of American politics since the country's founding, and laments that this history has not motivated lawmakers and voters to be more vigilant against threats to democracy. His indictment of the Trump administration largely relies on information already in the public record, including the Mueller Report and congressional testimony on the withholding of military aid from Ukraine. Trump's violations may not yield any immediate legal consequences, Rothkopf writes, but the verdict of history will deem him a traitor. Though unlikely to change minds, Rothkopf's well-informed study draws interesting parallels between the past and the present. Liberals will have their worst suspicions about the Trump presidency confirmed. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Rothkopf ranges across American history for confirming examples that hold Donald Trump guilty of treason. In his new book, On Treason, Carlton F.W. Larson, a California law professor, discusses how the crime of treason is bound up in such specific technicalities that it is almost never prosecuted as such. Rothkopf takes a less confining view here, holding that Trump "has repeatedly, indisputably, and egregiously betrayed his country." He has done this through many acts of commission, though the author hits hardest on the Mueller Report's assertions of actions that favored other countries--especially Russia--over the one Trump ostensibly leads. A president who is a traitor is a highly unusual situation. But as Rothkopf observes, there have been many other Americans who, motivated by money or ideology, have aided the nation's enemies. The most notorious of them is Benedict Arnold, whose very name is a byword for treason and who attempted to trade away military secrets that might have led to the failure of the American revolutionary cause. Aaron Burr appealed to the British for help in trying to realize his ambitions to power, though they were lukewarm to the idea, and, writes the author, "there is no evidence they sought to break up the United States." John Brown was executed for treason against the state of Virginia, though the charge would not be entertained today. And so forth, on down to the Rosenbergs--who, unfortunately for them, fell afoul of Roy Cohn, later to become Trump's mentor and "often cited as precisely the kind of lawyer Trump was looking for when he appointed William Barr to be U.S. attorney general, a position Trump saw as primarily existing to protect him from his accusers." There are many questions that lawyers need to ask Trump that concern his disdain for American institutions and fondness for foreign dictators, but Rothkopf's conclusions are open-ended. The argument doesn't cinch the charge, but the book makes for a useful summation of ceaseless and blatant malfeasance. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.