What Ricky’s Reading

Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary
Days in the Trump White House

by Cliff Sims, Former Special Assistant to the President

Donald Trump is the name that invokes exuberant cheers from one group and immediate indignation from another. You hardly ever find middle ground. Like the Alabama Crimson Tide, the New England Patriots, and the Golden State Warriors, people seem to either love him or hate him. Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House gives us an inside look at the Trump White House.

Cliff Sims was the CEO of Yellowhammer Multimedia, Alabama’s premier source for political news, until he joined the Trump campaign in August 2016. He tells his story from the campaign trail to the West Wing. We learn how an Alabama native helped solidify Trump’s election with catchy phrases and controversial talking points, but embarrassed the White House and the president with a hastily-written speech (delivered by Press Secretary Sean Spicer) which contained “facts” that had been given by “well-meaning individuals” that were “just plain incorrect.”

We learn about Trump’s tendency to inflate the “truth” and his unwillingness to change his stance on issues like immigration and trade. We learn about his strong opinions (that he is unafraid to share) about everything, but his willingness “to be convinced, with compelling evidence, that he should change his position.” Trump is portrayed at times as superficial, but at other times as extremely patriotic. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My thoughts: Cliff Sims admits from the beginning that he is a conservative and that he couldn’t stand to see Hillary Clinton elected. However, he seems to have no qualms painting Donald Trump with warts and all. Is this account written through a lens of total transparency? I can’t say. I can say that we learn some ugly truths about the cutthroat world of politics, both Democrat and Republican. We live in a divisive time when people with different political opinions cannot speak to one another without spewing a diatribe filled with hate and violence. Just take a trip to your timeline on Facebook. This has to stop. I hope as you read this book that you look for the good without ignoring the bad. Love him. Hate him. He is our president, and this is our country. May we all set aside our feelings, focus on our commonalities, and dialogue about our differences of opinions. We are Americans. Lord, help our politicians make wise decisions that benefit the citizens of this great country regardless of their political affiliations. Let us remember that they are flawed human beings just as we are.

Ricky Statham is director at Oneonta Public Library. Visit the library Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to check out this or another great book.