In his explosive new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, author, journalist, and columnist Michael Wolff has made some pretty bold claims about the inner workings of the president’s mind, as well as the way he is regarded by those around him. According to Wolff, senior White House officials have called Trump “a dope,” a “moron,” and “dumb as sh*t.”
Meanwhile, President Trump has fired back with all the fury many have come to expect from the embattled commander in chief. In a series of tweets – as has become his signature style – Trump described Wolff as a “total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book.” The president further alleged that Wolff “used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job.”
According to a report by CNBC, Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, composed and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt & Co., accusing the parties of publishing “false/baseless statements” about his client. Harder also asserts that the contents of the book amount to defamation and invasion of privacy which could see the accused be held liable for “substantial monetary damages and punitive damages.”
Nevertheless, director of publicity for Henry Holt & Co., Patricia Eisemann, has confirmed that they received the letter but it would not stop them from publishing and distributing the book.
Back on Twitter, Trump also insists that he “authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned [Wolff] down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book.”
However, according to an editorial penned by Wolff for the Hollywood Reporter, after asking Trump if he would grant him an opportunity to “watch and write a book,” the president “seemed to say, knock yourself out.”
Wolff details his initial encounters with Trump as he writes, “I proposed to him that I come to the White House and report an inside story for later publication — journalistically, as a fly on the wall — which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job.” But that’s not what Wolff wanted, and clarified that he’d merely “like to just watch and write a book.”
Due to what Wolff claims is inherent uncertainty as to what Trump truly means at any given time, the author took his “non-disapproval” as “a kind of passport for me to hang around.” Numerous senior White House staffers regularly met with Wolff, he writes, and even added his name into “the ‘system,'” so that he could have daily access to the West Wing.
In fact, it’s the West Wing’s convenient configuration – where the author camped on a couch in a hallway – that enabled Wolff to enjoy such unprecedented insights from those closest to Trump, he writes.
“All the new stars of the show: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, Gary Cohn, Michael Flynn (and after Flynn’s abrupt departure less than a month into the job for his involvement in the Russia affair, his replacement, H.R. McMaster), all neatly accessible.”
The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency was dominated by conflicting reports about the size of the newly elected leader’s inauguration crowd. On one occasion, Wolff alleges he overheard Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, as he purportedly muttered “you can’t make this sh*t up” to himself after “he was called to justify the president’s inaugural crowd numbers.”
Kellyanne Conway “would put a finger-gun to her head in private about Trump’s public comments,” Wolff writes. He adds that “Steve Bannon tried to gamely suggest that Trump was a mere frontman and that he, with plan and purpose and intellect, was, more reasonably, running the show.”
Wolff paints Trump as a man “singularly focused on his own needs for instant gratification, be that a hamburger, a segment on Fox & Friends or an Oval Office photo opp,” and says “he was, in words used by almost every member of the senior staff on repeated occasions, ‘like a child.'”
Moreover, Wolff attributes the many leaks that have been sprouting from the Trump administration since day one of his tenure to the president’s own billionaire friends whom he confided in. His friends then allegedly “shared this with their billionaire friends, creating the endless leaks which the president so furiously railed against.”
In the meantime, the Republican Party has rallied around Trump, even going so far as to create a meme that serves as a collation of various reviews – all of them seemingly negative – of Wolff’s book that they have selected to try and discredit the work. The caption simply said, “The reviews are in…”
During an exclusive interview on NBC’s Today Show, Michael Wolff told host Savannah Guthrie that “I absolutely spoke to the president” and that he emphatically stands by the book. Wolff also told Guthrie that Trump “does not read and does not listen,” and added, “I will quote Steve Bannon: ‘He’s lost it.'”