The Observation Post:
Throwing the Book
Unrestrained glee filled the collective countenance of much of the press corps as excerpts from Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House trickled out. A reactionary White House lashed out in many directions. Feeling the full brunt of Trump’s personal fire and fury was former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who seems to have left a noticeable carbon footprint on the book.
Especially unpardonable was Bannon’s charge that Donald Jr. and Jared Kushner committed an act of treason by meeting with Russian officials during the campaign. Weak protests that his remarks were taken out of context and that Paul Manafort was whom he’d been referring to as having committed acts of treason went unheeded.
A new nickname, Sloppy Steve, was brought to this world, and the moniker wasn’t in any particular hurry to return from whence it had cometh.
As the White House embarked on whatever legal recourse it hoped would thwart the book’s publishing from taking place, HarperCollins rolled the January 9th publication forward by a few days, and before the weekend was over, hard copies of the book were sold out pretty much everywhere that books are sold in the first place.
How much of the book are lies I cannot possibly know. I can only speak for that which I know, personally.
1. The claim:
Trump’s people did not expect victory
No one expected Trump to win. I spent election night at Trump’s victory party at the Hilton in Midtown Manhattan. I got to speak with many of Trump’s top campaign staffers, and before the results from Florida started to trickle in there were no expectations that Trump would pull it off. The grand ballroom had a capacity of a thousand, getting around wasn’t difficult, and I had nine hours to make my rounds.
There was an approved spot on the main riser for “Trump TV,” leaving little doubt that a new channel was being inaugurated. So they thought.
But let’s take a step back. Almost anyone who covered the Trump transition team before election day can tell you that they put small effort into vetting candidates for positions. And the rationale was, why bother sifting through tens to hundreds of thousands of résumés when our guy doesn’t stand a chance?
And what about Trump himself? Mere moments after his victory I asked the president-elect to what he attributes his victory. At one point he gestured upwards and remarked, “It was the One Above.” The sense I got at the time was that he was numb, in shock. The unexpected had taken place.
2. The claim:
Those closest to Trump have said negative things about him
Fact is, many of the people Trump surrounded himself with were new to politics and didn’t have much expertise in keeping all their conversations guarded at all times. Like Trump himself, many of the people he surrounds himself with made careers without concern for self-censorship. Slips of tongues have been quite common in the early months of the Trump White House.
And while we’ve seen some of the more colorful characters let loose bombastic comments that they’ve since come to regret, there are others whose unflattering and flippant comments made about Trump have yet to come to light.
Allow nothing to surprise you.