Well, as publicity campaigns for a new book go, it doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s safe to say that journalist Michael Wolff is a happy, er, bunny right now, with revelations from his explosive behind-the-scenes look at the first year of Donald Trump in the White House dominating the news over the past 48 hours, following articles in the New York magazine and the Hollywood Reporter.
And he finally caught the big fish this morning as the President himself finally gave in to his urges and responded on Twitter:
OK, no, sadly that’s not what he posted.
Instead he went with this classic piece of Trumpism:
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
“Sloppy Steve” - that’s a mental image we won’t get out of our heads any time soon.
For those who have somehow missed the media storm, the book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, was conducted after Wolff was allowed to take up “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” and is based on more than 200 interviews with staff.
The juciest revelations from the NY mag piece can be found here, but among the best were the idea that Trump never wanted to win the presidential race, Melania was distraught when he did, Ivanka and Jared Kushner decided on a pact that Ivanka would later become the first female president, while Donald liked to be in bed with a cheeseburger by 6:30pm watching the news on three different TV screens.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter piece had two worrying sections relating to the mental health of the president, with Wolff writing:
“There was more: Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions. It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories — now it was within 10 minutes. Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions — he just couldn’t stop saying something.”
“At Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.”
Initially, Trump comically attempted to silence Wolff, with lawyers sending a cease-and-desist order to Steve Bannon, who came across as particularly critical of Trump, as well as to Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt, on Thursday morning.
However, instead of quashing the book, it seems merely to have sped it up, with the release date being brought forward four days to Friday.
Here we go. You can buy it (and read it) tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. President.— Michael Wolff (@MichaelWolffNYC) January 4, 2018
Of course, critics have already started to cast aspersions on the accuracy of the claims made in the book, with the Washington Post urging caution, and wondering how Wolff managed to get the scoops that many other journalists have tried, and failed, to obtain.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair described an allegation about him - that he shared a “juicy rumour” with Jared Kushner that the UK government had his campaign under surveillace - as “absurd” and “a complete fabrication”.
Michael Wolff's book about Trump has demonstrably false information in it.— Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 (@RealSaavedra) January 3, 2018
Case in point: Wolff also claims Trump apparently didn’t know who former House Speaker John Boehner was until after the 2016 presidential election.
All these tweets from Trump mention Boehner. pic.twitter.com/WScydJdAeR
However, others were coming forward to corroborate claims:
The author himself has stated:
“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”
So you can judge for yourself.
And there’s more questions that are just downright strange:
One of the baffling things about Trumpworld giving access to Wolff: all they needed to do was call Murdoch and he would have said don’t cooperate b/c Wolff had written nasty book on him. And Jared/Trump speak to Murdoch all the time!— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) January 4, 2018
Further revelations from the book - now on sale - are coming out minute-by-minute, including this:
page 23 of new Wolff book: “Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends’ wives into bed.”— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 3, 2018
And, naturally, the internet was busy having a field day.
Trump & Bannon have turned on each other BIGLY. It’s impossible to pick a side. It’s as if Cancer & Ebola got into a fight.— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) January 4, 2018