Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury is an alleged “tell-all” of the inner workings of the Trump presidency and its core players. It reached the top of Amazon’s best-seller list over a matter of days. The self-described “explosive book” lives up to its title, sending a fury of people to stores while Trump fires back at this new installation of “fake news.”
While Wolff claims to provide an abundance of new, chaotic details about the state of the White House, it hasn’t gone unchallenged: by the POTUS (page 10), by the media, and by a cautious America.
Melania and Donald have a loveless marriage
The book tells the tale of a loveless marriage between Donald and Melania. Wolff said that the two sleep in separate bedrooms in the White House behind locked doors. Another interesting bit about the first lady: Wolff claimed she cried the night Donald was voted president.
Stephanie Grisham, Melania’s communications director, disputed the claims and called Fire and Fury “a work of fiction.” Grisham denied that Melania was upset about Donald’s win but did not directly address any specific passages from the book.
Next: Here’s what Ivanka and Jared Kushner think of Trump.
Jared Kushner said Trump ‘just doesn’t get’ and Ivanka mocked his hair
Wolff calls the president’s eldest daughter and her husband as power-seeking members of Trump’s administration and claimed they defied “the advice of almost everyone they knew” to take on their current positions. Their alleged final goal is to get Ivanka to the White House. “The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump,” Wolff wrote.
According to Wolff, there is also plenty of name-calling between the couple and Donald. During “candid conversations” with friends, Trump has labeled Kushner a “suck up.” On the other end, Kushner has complained Trump “just doesn’t get” America’s response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Ivanka also reportedly mocked her father’s hair.
Next: The relationship between Trump and his consultants is also struggling.
People around Trump have trouble getting him to process information
Wolff claims that early on in the campaign, consultant Sam Nunberg tried to teach Trump about the Constitution. However, Nunberg said, “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.”
Wolff also claims that Trump’s staff has a difficult time getting him to pay attention or read. “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense – or, in a way, he didn’t process it at all,” Wolff wrote. “Trump didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim … Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate … Some thought him dyslexic; certainly his comprehension was limited.”
Next: According to Wolff, Trump made this outrageous claim.
Trump said that he likes to sleep with his friends’ wives
Wolff claims, “Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends’ wives into bed.”
Wolff says that Trump would pursue his friends’ wives and try to convince them that their husband wasn’t what they thought. He would then have a conversation with the friend and try to convince him that he can get a better woman than his wife; during this whole conversation, he’d have the wife on speakerphone listening in.
On this topic, Wolff quotes a close friend of Trump’s as saying that he’s similar to Bill Clinton, except “that Clinton had a respectable front and Trump did not.”
Next: More proof that Donald and Melania’s relationship is on thin ice.
Trump was miserable and fought with his wife at the inauguration
Fitting with the idea that Trump did not want to become president, and his wife did not want to become the first lady, the inauguration was apparently not pleasant for either of them. Wolff’s book claims that Trump did not enjoy his inauguration. For one, he was upset that A-list celebrities snubbed the event. He also was “disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House.”
Finally, the book claims he was “visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears and would return to New York the next day; almost every word he addressed to her was sharp and peremptory.”
Next: Here’s the bottom line we derived from Wolff’s book.
Trump’s administration doesn’t take him very seriously
The book makes one theme clear: In Wolff’s opinion, no one close to Trump’s administration takes the president very seriously. A constant theme, The Globe and Mail wrote, is how irritated everyone has become dealing with Trump’s alleged semi-literacy and conversation skills.
“If he wanted something, his focus might be sharp and attention lavish, but if someone wanted something from him, he tended to become irritable and quickly lost interest,” Wolff wrote of interacting with Trump. “He demanded you pay him attention, then decided you were weak for groveling.”
Next: Another side of Steve Bannon was revealed.
Steve Bannon said Trump has ‘lost his stuff’
A preview of the book released via The Guardian revealed that Bannon called a 2016 meeting between Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” in an interview with Wolff. Wolff also claimed Bannon said Donald Trump won’t last in office and has “lost his stuff.”
Bannon was reportedly ousted from the chairmanship of Breitbart News and publicly distanced from billionaire and financer Rebekah Mercer. He issued an apology that claimed he regrets what he said to Wolff. “My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda,” Bannon said.
Next: The crazy thing Trump realized on election night.
Not even Trump thought he’d become president
Fire and Fury explored another potentially distressed relationship: Trump’s relationship with himself. Wolff wrote that Trump told on-again, off-again aide Sam Nunberg that he could be “the most famous man in the world,” but when asked, “But do you want to be president?” Nunberg received no answer.
Wolff wrote that Trump was so convinced he would lose the election that he refused to give the “necessary” $50 million for his own campaign. In the end, he reportedly loaned $10 million. Robert Mercer also allegedly offered Trump a $5 million donation, leaving Trump “baffled he would want to help out a losing campaign.”
Next: Something crucial to note about the author.
Wolff has been called out for his credibility, or lack thereof
Wolff’s critics have already ousted him as a writer with a “penchant for stirring up an argument,” unabashed on his quest to “push the facts as far as they’ll go.” He’s been accused of exaggerating and “creating scenes” for his books and columns.
However, despite Trump’s cynical view of modern-day journalists, he allowed Mr. Wolff a surprising amount of access and didn’t ban him from entering the White House. “Since the new White House was often uncertain about what the President meant or did not mean in any given utterance, his non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around,” Wolff wrote in a Hollywood Reporter column.
Next: Here’s how Trump reacted to ‘Fire and Fury’
Trump ordered a cease-and-desist
The president’s lawyer sent a legal notice addressed to Wolff and the president of the book’s publisher, Henry Holt and Co., requiring they “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book.”
The publishing company responded, defying Trump and his lawyers, and declared they would move the book’s publication date up a week to “capitalize on runaway demand,” The Globe and Mail reported. John Sargent, CEO of Macmillian, Holt’s parent company, released a memo directed at the controversy’s implications for the first amendment. “There is no ambiguity here. This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent,” Sargent wrote in his memo. “We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court.”
Additional reporting by Brendan Morrow.
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