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An anonymous Trump administration official will publish "A Warning" on Nov. 19; Biblioracle columnist John Warner urges readers not to buy it.
An anonymous Trump administration official will publish "A Warning" on Nov. 19; Biblioracle columnist John Warner urges readers not to buy it. (Alex Brandon / AP)

On Nov. 19, Twelve will publish “A Warning” by an anonymous Trump administration official, and I would like to urge everyone to not purchase this book.

For the Americans who would support Donald Trump even if he shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, the book is the work of a subversive deep-state operative plotting an internal coup.

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For the rest of us who are worried about what additional damage President Trump may do to the office he holds and the country he is supposed to serve, allow me to make a more thorough, reality-based case.

First, this anonymous author’s horrifying story of the Trump administration is already leaking ahead of its publication date. Consider this rather tepid New York Times review by Jennifer Szalai.

Second, I don’t believe in rewarding people who are in positions of significant power and influence who are too cowardly to stand up publicly for the principles they claim to hold.

Let’s understand a couple of things: Anonymous is in fact not a deep-state operative. As his or her 2018 New York Times op-ed makes clear, Anonymous is a Republican who supports the president’s agenda. Anonymous also is not a “whistleblower.” Whistleblowers, as we have seen with the brave individual who flagged the president’s attempts to meddle in the integrity of the 2020 election, act out of a sense of duty by going through official, legal channels.

Instead, Anonymous is one of a very common species: a Republican who has worked in the Trump Administration and who believes he is every bit as dangerous to the country as any Democrat, and yet still does not do anything truly substantive to act on those beliefs.

Anonymous is for sure not alone. As Republican consultant Mike Murphy told MSNBC in September, one senator told him that 30 of his colleagues would vote to remove Trump from office if it could be done anonymously.

Column: ‘A Warning’ from an anonymous Trump official is due out Nov. 19. Don’t buy it.
(HANDOUT)

Gen. James Mattis, former defense secretary, studiously avoids sharing his true thoughts about the president in his new book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.” We know this thanks to Mattis’ former aide and speech writer, Guy Snodgrass, who wrote in his own book, “Holding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” about Mattis’ concerns regarding the president’s behavior.

Mattis says he owes a certain deference to the office of the president to not speak out. It is not clear to me why he should defer to an office when the man holding it shows it no such respect. I understand it even less, considering our national security is in the balance.

I get Anonymous’ hesitancy reveal himself. President Trump is obviously more than willing to use the awesome powers of the presidency to enact revenge on those he perceives as enemies. The Ukraine whistleblower has much to fear. Trump is already using the U.S. Justice Department to try to unmask the identity of Anonymous under the guise of making sure no non-disclosure agreements have been violated.

Unfortunately, by staying undercover, Anonymous significantly blunts any chance of whatever warnings he wishes to issue having an effect, no matter how disturbing. I don’t wish any harm to this person. I don’t even support any investigatory efforts to have him unmasked without his consent.

That said, is it too much to ask for people who took an oath to the Constitution to live up to their pledge?

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities.”

Book recommendations from the Biblioracle

John Warner tells readers what book to pick up next, based on the last five titles they’ve read.

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1. “The Education of an Idealist” by Samantha Power

2. “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” by Rebecca Traister

3. “Red Clocks” by Leni Zumas

4. “Circe” by Madeline Miller

5. “Fleishman Is in Trouble” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

— Sally T., Chicago

Jami Attenberg has a special talent for bring a “messy” family to life, and really, what family isn’t messy. Sally should try “All This Could be Yours.”

1. “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb

2. “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen

3. “House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III

4. “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones

5. “Midwives” by Chris Bohjalian

— Mary P., Rockford

Going back a bit to find the kind of drama Mary seems to gravitate towards: “The Shipping News” by Annie Proulx.

1. “The Anthologist” by Nicholson Baker

2. “The Best American Short Stories of the Century,” edited by John Updike

3. “Nutshell” by Ian McEwan

4. “Motherless Brooklyn” by Jonathan Lethem

5. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

— Michael T., Chicago

Some good substantive stuff in this list when it comes to contemplating the deepest recesses of the human condition. This makes me think “The Association of Small Bombs” by Karan Mahajan is a good fit for Michael.

Get a reading from the Biblioracle

Send a list of the last five books you’ve read to books@chicagotribune.com.

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