"Congratulations: TO THE TRUTH!"
No, that's not a tweet from Jennifer Rubin or @NaztyWmn4Biden on Election Day 2020. It's what famed reporter Bob Woodward wrote in a signed copy of his Watergate book, The Last of the President's Men, given to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House staffer whose "explosive" testimony before the January 6 committee in 2022 fueled several weeks' worth of hysterical commentary on CNN and MSNBC.
Hutchinson, as expected, has written her own book. (Her name and face appear on the cover, at least.) Enough is a memoir, both personal and political, recounting the author's breakneck journey from abandoned daughter to homework aficionado to Capital Hill intern to low-level staffer in the Trump White House to high-level staffer to subject of a congressional investigation to divine apostle of TRUTH, hero of the anti-Trump #Resistance, and published author.
The book, as intended, has titillated journalists (and other activist Democrats) with splashy headlines about Rudy Giuliani's cold-fingered gropey hands and sordid tales of how the Trump White House was "more chaotic than previously known." Whether out of a cynical desire for clicks and ratings, or due to some undiagnosed mental health disorder, these people insist on making Donald J. Trump the lead character in every story about American politics.
Enough isn't a book about Trump, it's a book about Cassidy Hutchinson. For that reason, it's one of the most authentically compelling (and terrifying) accounts of the inner workings of official Washington, D.C., sometimes referred to as "The Swamp," at least since Veep went off the air in 2019. For starters, it's the first political memoir I've seen that is dedicated to the author's attorneys. It won't be the last.
Trump's role in the narrative isn't particularly interesting, especially compared with that of Hutchinson's absent father, a mercurial psychopath who guns down snapping turtles for sport and is constitutionally incapable of living outside of New Jersey. He rebuffs his daughter's pleas for financial help by making monkey noises. No wonder she was drawn to politics.
Hutchinson, 27, reveals herself as the archetypal government staffer. Someone who, since childhood, has "detested the necessity of sleep" because she might "miss out on something." Someone who "loved the predictable routine of school" and stayed in the classroom during recess to eat lunch with the teacher. An under-confident overachiever with "several congressional and White House internships" under her belt before graduating college. Republicans or Democrats, these are the people who run our government.
It wasn't long before Hutchinson was thriving as a junior staffer with "a nitro coffee in one hand and a sugar-free Red Bull in the other" who "seldom left the office before midnight." A consummate career climber, she would strategize with colleagues over how to optimize routine social interactions with high-status individuals. She used "flashcards with faces, names, states, districts, and basic biographical details … to help establish a camaraderie" with members of Congress and other obsequious blowhards. She became fluent in the language of The Swamp: making other people feel important.
That's how Hutchinson landed a job with Trump's fourth White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the title of "Special Assistant to the President," one of the highest honors in a town crawling with assistants who want to feel special. Few of them will ever get as close to power as Hutchinson, who portrays herself (not implausibly) as a vital cog in the Trump administration's Rube Goldberg contraption—sometimes following orders, often times just winging it freelance.
Sounds about right. Or does it? The author is, by her own account, a smooth operator. Someone who got a rival colleague fired by accusing him (without evidence) of leaking to the press. Someone who brags about colluding with former Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), via "backchannels" and "soft feelers," to get her testimony on television. Everything is transactional. It was Cheney who helped find the aforementioned lawyers who represented Hutchinson free of charge. All Hutchinson had to do in return was "save democracy" by playing the starring role in a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt culminating in a (presumably lucrative) book deal. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
Alas, the people who play this particular game are by their very nature unreliable narrators. For example, Hutchinson and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) publicly disagree about whether or not they dated. Gaetz is a moron, but I'm not sure whom to believe. It could be that some of the interactions Hutchinson describes are probably true, but so cringeworthy that I wish they were made up. None involving Trump, but rather, for instance, the woman who started sobbing after spotting Hutchinson in a Whole Foods and thanked her for "opening people's eyes to how much danger our democracy is in."
Hutchinson couldn't agree more. In the manner of an accused spy reading her confession at a Soviet show trial, she pleads for moral redemption. She applauds her decision to turn against Trump, having "witnessed his selfish recklessness threatening the country's constitutional order." She recalls January 6, 2021, as "a dark day—traumatizing—a genuine threat to the health of the world's greatest democracy." She waves to a little girl from her hotel room and is overcome with empowered patriotism. "She has no idea who I am or what I did," Hutchinson gloats. "She probably won't ever know. But I did it for her. For the country that's her home."
It's more than enough to ensure that a plush gig as a lobbyist or MSNBC contributer awaits Hutchinson at the end of her book tour.
Congratulations: TO THE TRUTH!
by Cassidy Hutchinson
Simon & Schuster, 384 pp., $30
Andrew Stiles is a senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon.