The monkey spit has certainly hit the fan, and on-lookers are choking with joy. Especially am I in another level of Heaven. The book went on sale at 8:00 a.m. Central Time Friday, and at 8:00 a.m. plus a second or more I hit the button on Amazon and pulled down a Kindle edition, $14.99 plus tax. Let the fun begin. Images are screen shots from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, streaming on Hulu this morning.
Of course the President of the United States had some objections.
“Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past …” People, your President is totally irony-deficient. Being a world authority on these matters, he is definitely one to spot lies, misrepresentations, and sources that don’t exist when he sees them. And, to be sure, many reviewers have spotted such in the book.
The author is Michael Wolff, who wrote from a few month’s history with the Trump presidential campaign and also from inside the first year of the Trump White House. Wolff apparently draws most of his material second hand from sources close to the President. For example:
Trump, observed Walsh, had a set of beliefs and impulses, much of them on his mind for many years, some of them fairly contradictory, and little of them fitting legislative or political conventions or form. Hence, she and everyone else was translating a set of desires and urges into a program, a process that required a lot of guess work. It was, said Walsh, “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 113). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
The author is seen on ABC saying, “They all say he is like a child,” citing what staffers have told him about the President. “Walsh” is Katie Walsh:
Katie E. Walsh (born November 2, 1984) is an American Republican political operative who briefly served as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. She is currently working with the Trump-aligned 501(c)(4) America First Policies.
Wolff talks of the President’s need for “immediate gratification.”
But it wasn’t Bannon versus everybody else so much as it was Bannon Trump versus non-Bannon Trump. If Trump, in his dark, determined, and aggressive mood, could represent Bannon and his views, he could just as easily represent nothing at all—or represent solely his own need for instant gratification. That’s what the non-Bannon people understood about Trump.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 174). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
“It’s all about him,” Wolff says, again from close sources. He drills down, using terms like “moron” and “idiot.”
In early October, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s fate was sealed—if his obvious ambivalence toward the president had not already sealed it—by the revelation that he had called the president “a fucking moron.”
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 304). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
From a White House email:
Purporting to represent the views of Gary Cohn and quite succinctly summarizing the appalled sense in much of the White House, the email read:
It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant prick who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits. No one will survive the first year but his family. I hate the work, but feel I need to stay because I’m the only person there with a clue what he’s doing. The reason so few jobs have been filled is that they only accept people who pass ridiculous purity tests, even for midlevel policy-making jobs where the people will never see the light of day. I am in a constant state of shock and horror.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 186). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
We see Wolff stating, “This is a man who does not read, does not listen.”
But not only didn’t he read, he didn’t listen. He preferred to be the person talking. And he trusted his own expertise—no matter how paltry or irrelevant—more than anyone else’s. What’s more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of attention.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 114). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
The president did not truly listen to anybody. The more you talked, the less he listened. “But Steve is careful about what he says, and there is something, a timbre in his voice and his energy and excitement, that the president can really hone in on, blocking everything else out,” said Walsh.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 182). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
Others have noted this:
In early August, less than a month after Ailes had been ousted from Fox News, Trump asked his old friend to take over the management of his calamitous campaign. Ailes, knowing Trump’s disinclination to take advice, or even listen to it, turned him down. This was the job Bannon [took] a week later.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 3). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
Wolff notes Donald Trump’s unsettling repetition. From ABC News, “Wolff paints a portrait of a mentally unstable man, saying the President often repeats the same story every three minutes.”
The president’s advisers felt he shouldn’t put himself in a position where he would be compared with Bannon. The worry among staffers—all of them concerned that Trump’s rambling and his alarming repetitions (the same sentences delivered with the same expressions minutes apart) had significantly increased, and that his ability to stay focused, never great, had notably declined—was that he was likely to suffer by such a comparison. Instead, the interview with Trump was offered to Sean Hannity—with a preview of the questions.
Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 309). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
At Mar-a-Lago recently the President failed to recognize life-long friends ABC News reports, although my copy of the book does not appear to recount this episode.
Of course, President Trump is slinging back.
At the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reminds us how ridiculous these accusations are. From the video:
It’s disgraceful and laughable. If he was [sic] unfit, he probably wouldn’t sitting there. … This is a strong and great leader.”
And that, readers, has to be one for the history books. Being unfit did not prevent Donald Trump from becoming President. He became President through the intervention of a mass of American voters who, themselves, may be unfit. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers. “A strong and great leader,” completely defining the meaning of the terms “strong” and “great,” with “leader” thrown in for good measure.
The scene from the White House news briefing closes with a view of Sanders’ backside as she exits stage left. Hey! How would you like to have that job?
President Trump weighs in, saying he never spoke to Wolff for the book. Sanders has conceded Wolff did interview Donald Trump, and Wolff says it was for the book, regardless of what Trump thought.
ABC White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega delivers the coup de grace.
… This is a West Wing used to dealing with crisis, David. As one senior White House official told us, quote, “People expect us to be running around with our hair on fire, but it’s hard to do that when it’s already been burned off.”
There is going to be much more of this. I have not had so much fun since cousin Elroy stuck the dynamite down the outhouse. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.