It seems pretty easy for just about anyone who has dropped by Donald Trump's White House to get a lucrative book deal. Any insight into the inner workings of the Trump administration is golden, even if the person providing it only lasted a few days.
By the end of his first term, at least 20 books will have been written about Trump's political dealings, several of them by former Washington insiders, including staff members, FBI officials, politicians, advisers and journalists.
The latest former official to pen a tell-all book is John Bolton, Trump's third national security adviser in three years, whom the president pushed out after just 17 months on the job. Bolton apparently has lots of juicy tidbits to reveal in the book scheduled for release next year. And you can bet that America will be all ears.
Sadly, we are all too willing to give these former Trump enablers our undivided attention. Many of them were willing to sell their souls for a chance to promote their own agenda, and when they failed, they looked to us for sympathy.
Not long ago, some were pretending in public as though Trump was a capable world leader, all the while taking notes or recording conversations for a book that would tell the true story of his inefficacy. People who once were willing to kiss the ground Trump walks on would have us believe that they experienced some sort of epiphany once they left Washington and came to realize that yeah, Trump really is as bad as his critics say he is.
We're not that dumb. Trump told them he was a snake before they took a job in his administration. They cannot convince us now that they didn't know he was a snake.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom Trump once praised for leaving "a legacy of achievement that nobody can question," gave us "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea." In it, he revealed that Trump "didn't know anything about government" and operates on ill-informed "knee-jerk reactions."
Ryan was willing to cozy up to Trump for two years while he got want he wanted from him - a presidential signature on a bill cutting taxes for the rich. Meanwhile, he indulged Trump's ridiculous demands to build a border wall and stood by as he implemented cruel policies such as eliminating protections for "Dreamers."
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Trump's former communications director for the Office of Public Liaison, gifted us with "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," in which she revealed that Trump is a "racist" who has used the "N-word" repeatedly.
For months, Manigault Newman smiled for the cameras while posing with Trump at White House events geared toward African Americans, knowing that he talked about black people behind their backs and had no interest in furthering their causes.
Then we have Anthony Scaramucci, who spent 11 days as White House communications director, writing "Trump, the Blue-Collar President." In the book, published last year, he calls Trump a "genius" and said, for a "guy working in finance, who wanted to rise through the economic classes and reach for the Gold Ring, Mr. Trump was the Great Gatsby."
By the time the book came out, though, Scaramucci and his former Gatsby were feuding and he was a lot more honest, confirming what we already knew, that Trump "does intentionally lie." He also recently told The New York Times Trump is "off the rails" and that "honest people in the room know that he is crazy."
Former press secretary Sean Spicer, fired FBI Director James Comey, former White House communications director Hope Hicks, former National Security adviser H.R. McMaster and convicted presidential campaign adviser Roger Stone are among those who have profited from their association with Trump.
Most recently, we've had Anonymous, the unknown author who is giving us "A Warning." The person still works in Trump's White House, but doesn't have the guts to identify him or herself.
Anonymous claims that the administration is in such disarray that senior members of Trump's team once considered sabotaging the president to get him to resign. According to the book, people in his inner circle fear that Trump is in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and staffers all have "draft resignation letters in our desks or on our laptops."
We should take the expose with a grain of salt. That doesn't mean, of course, that the White House isn't in chaos. But anyone who publicly criticizes their boss while still getting a paycheck cannot be trusted.
Make no mistake. This unnamed "senior official" is no whistleblower. This isn't a Deep Throat or a concerned informant who risked his or her career, and possibly their life, by reporting alleged corruption by Trump and his associates.
If anything, this is the work of a coward. Which brings us back to Bolton.
Bolton, who was part of Trump's team during the time of the events that are now central to the impeachment hearings, has refused to testify without a court order. Though his lawyer has confirmed that Bolton has information that would be useful in the probe, Bolton has chosen to hold on to it, possibly saving the juiciest details for his book.
These are desperate times in America right now. We don't need selfish people who are only out to benefit themselves. We need folks who are willing to do the right thing while they are in the White House and when they leave.
That means putting everything on the line in exchange for dignity and self-respect. Beyond putting money in the pockets of the authors, these book deals have done little or nothing to move the conversation forward or hold Trump accountable.
If anything, they are just a rehashing of what we already know about Trump - that he is an awful president who is not fit to hold office. We should not be willing to pay for that.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dahleen Glanton is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com