GANS WRITES, “Although no organized deep state exists in Washington, the American people are not wrong to worry about one.” This is one of the more trenchant observations in White House Warriors, which went to press shortly after the ouster of H.R. McMaster. Gans is also correct when he cites unpredictability as the hallmark of President Donald Trump, particularly in the national security space. His prediction about the fate of McMaster’s successor ultimately came true in mid-September: “No one knows whether [John] Bolton will continue as advisor or be fired over Twitter tomorrow.”
This very state of affairs belies the nebulous premise of White House Warriors—the ascription of influence to largely unknown NSC staffers—by underscoring the ultimate power of the individual who has always exercised the greatest influence over presidential decisionmaking: the president.
James Rosen is a Washington correspondent for the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the author, among other books, of Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman (2015).