Villains abound in John Bolton’s White House memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” including the Villain-in-Chief, Donald J. Trump. Although not so identified, let me suggest there are heroes described in the heavily annotated 494 pages of text.

Besides DJT, Bolton writes that the rapidly revolving door for federal department heads was a great disservice to the nation. There’s a strong suggestion this was the president’s conscious strategy. With a short time in the job, it was almost impossible to establish clear policies for subordinates and staff were largely in the dark on performance expectations. Bolton raises this early in the book, comparing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s relationship with corporate staff at Exxon and the career employees at the State Department.

Largely left hanging when doing their jobs, the much-maligned and faceless bureaucrats got the work done despite the leadership vacuum, all the way to the White House. And these are my heroes of the story. They came to work and did their job to the best of their understanding; government functioned and the country avoided paralysis. Many times, it wasn’t pretty.

Will things change in the coming year? How will the sequel read?

F. Gerard Nault

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