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Jeanine Pirro in Trumpland

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Polemical books written in Twitter prose have many things in common — one being that they tend to have elongated titles stuffed with attention-grabbing alliteration. Hence, we have: Liars, Leakers and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy, credited to Jeanine Pirro, the former doyenne of Westchester County politics and conservative host of Fox News’ Justice With Judge Jeanine.

When I first saw the Liars, Leakers and Liberals, etc., title, I was immediately reminded of Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Like most snarky books with alliterative titles that promise to expose evil liars, Franken’s book from 2003 doesn’t have an index — and neither does Pirro’s.

Pirro’s book was conceived as a screed against the Deep State, which she alleges is scheming to destroy President Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump loves the book, but it has been mostly ignored by the mainstream press, unlike a slew of anti-Trump books, including Bob Woodward’s scathing takedown, Fear. Nevertheless, Pirro’s book instantly cracked The New York Times Best Seller list.

So far, 2018 has been a good year for Pirro — despite her problems with selling her posh Harrison home (reduced in price from $5 million to $3.4 million) and despite the embarrassment of getting busted for speeding, at 119 miles per hour, in Upstate New York. Even an ugly verbal dustup with Whoopi Goldberg was a blessing in disguise. Pirro thanked her for helping make her Trump book a success.

In the tabloid-driven world of Jeanine Pirro, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Her pay from Fox, reportedly $3 million a year, is proof that it is all good.

Other entries in her literary canon include two ghost-written whodunnits in the Dani Fox series, featuring the fictional adventures of a young and beautiful district attorney modeled after… do you really have to ask? These paperback potboilers come recommended for the sex scenes, which must be read aloud for the full comic effect. Another, I Killed Them All, is about alleged serial killer Robert Durst. More entertaining than the actual book was the advanced notoriety Pirro achieved when the original ghostwriter sued her for nonpayment of $28,750.

When she was Westchester’s crusading district attorney and still considered a rising star in the galaxy of Republican politics, she produced her first book, To Punish and Protect: One DA’s Fight Against a System That Coddles Criminals.

Published 15 years ago, this was her manifesto, a sobering, if somewhat self-serving treatise that amounted to a case-by-case study of domestic violence and how such crimes against women had largely been ignored in the male-dominated world of law enforcement. The book was filled with feminist consciousness-raising rage and empathy for crime victims — and for Pirro it set the stage for bigger things. At a public appearance, she teasingly signed my copy: “To Phil, Guess who I’d like to punish — Jeanine.” That was pure Jeanine.

Before she came along, Westchester’s political scene was dull and low-key, dominated by middle-aged men in gray-flannel suits who played golf. She was the first celebrity-brand politician, a sexy but hardworking dynamo. And with To Punish and Protect, she had reached the pinnacle of her political career. It went downhill from there.

Two years later, she hit bottom — thanks to an ill-advised run for the US Senate against her lifelong bête noire Hillary Clinton, whom she continues to bait on her Fox show.

As a TV personality, she has found a second act in life, having fully mutated from a moderate Republican from the suburbs into a ranting superstar of the right wing, a tart-tongued slayer of Trump’s enemies. She is Trump’s “whisperer,” a fawning Boswell with bee-stung lips. Trump, a longtime friend, who attributes greatness to those who flatter him, never misses Justice. He gives Pirro “exclusive” interviews in which she invariably lobs softball questions. In one phone exchange with the president earlier this year, Pirro became bizarrely fixated on Trump’s idea of having a military parade.

“Are we gonna have a parade?” she gushed. “If we were to have a parade — I’m stuck on the parade! When do you think we’ll have this parade, because I wanna go to a parade!”

Unfortunately for Pirro, the president’s parade was postponed. Pardon the alliteration.

 

The opinions and beliefs expressed by Phil Reisman are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Westchester Magazine’s editors and publishers. Tell us what you think: email edit@westchestermagazine.com

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