There are many in Donald Trump’s inner circle who have tried to read his mind these past four years, together with a class of journalists who, on a daily basis, have catalogued his whims and outrages. But perhaps my attention to the former president, after writing three books about him, is unique. I now regard him as my own character, with an ever-so-fine line between what he actually does and what, in moments of inspiration, I imagine him doing. I am not always able to tell the difference in the Twitter of my dreams.
We have a cottage in Amagansett, the most unHamptons Hamptons town (making it, in fashion’s dialectic, the most Hamptons town), that was bought with the proceeds from my books about Trump. Among its hoped-for benefits is to help me forget about him. Of course the main subject in the Hamptons is still Donald Trump. As a defeated politician, he may yet be, like almost all modern public figures, a streaking comet, merely brighter than all others, but gradually burning out. But, in a much different metaphor, and occupying a much different status than mere former president, he could be an ongoing fact and condition of modern life, like Google, or Covid.
I am a de rigueur guest at Hamptons dinner tables. Perhaps I am like a war correspondent returning from the front in pre-television days. At the appointed moment of an evening, all eyes turn to me for an update on the fraught situation. Although more airtime, column inches and social media angst have been devoted to Trump in a concentrated period of time than perhaps to anyone else in history, the hunger for information about him is never sated. Mine is not the only book about the former president topping the summer bestseller lists.