‘Fire & Fury:’ AKA ‘Stampede to the Panic Room’
Ya know, I seriously thought we’d get a few days into 2018 with a little relative peace and quiet. But noooo - while 2017 was a bumpy ride in a creaky old airplane, it turns out that 2018 is that same plane strapped with 10 rocket engines, and they’ve all fired off at once on the first business day after New Year’s Day, and what was once a moderately discomforting display of turbulence and dodgy engineering has unexpectedly turned into the thrill ride of the century.
Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ has gone into previews, and Trump World has flown into a blind, sweaty panic.
While the advance excerpts have largely featured oh-so-quotable quotes from former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, Wolff gathered interviews from most of the White House staff over the better part of a year. And while the rest of the staff’s quotes will cause secondary ripples all the way up to the midterm elections, Bannon’s pull quotes have proven nothing less than seismic. Here’s a short list:
- Don Jr.'s meeting with Russian representatives at Trump Tower was 'treasonous' - and he charges that Junior took the Russians to meet Trump after the meeting
- As to Junior's legal liabilities: 'They're going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV.'
- Bannon maintains that Robert Mueller's investigation is less about collusion with Russia and more about money laundering, and that when Trump falls it will be because he brought son-in-law Jared Kushner into the White House.
- And in a case of what may be stating the obvious, Bannon calls First Daughter Ivanka Trump 'dumb as a brick.'
The non-Bannon quotes were nearly as nuts. White House staffers spoke of how Hope Hicks was Trump’s ‘real daughter’ and Ivanka was his ‘real wife.’ Jared and Ivanka got White House jobs because Trump ‘can’t say no to his kids.’ Sam Nunberg tried to explain the amendments of the Constitution to Trump, but only got up to the Fourth Amendment before Trump got bored. Melania wept with sorrow when she realized Trump won on Election Night. Trump wanted to put a lock on his bedroom door in the White House residence, but was overruled by the Secret Service.
But the cherry on top of the whole rancid sundae, the single thing that’s probably burrowed deepest under Trump’s skin, is that Ivanka is on the record making fun of his hair. Oh, the humanity.
And all this is just from the freakin’ advance.
Reaction from the White House was entirely predictable. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders charged that most of the book was ‘inaccurate and untrue’ (even though Wolff has tapes of all the interviews). Trump’s lawyers sent Bannon a cease & desist letter and are threatening a lawsuit (maintaining he violated a non-disclosure agreement) and are trying to block publication of the book.
But Trump’s lawyers, if they’ve got the sense that God gave a fucking turnip, have got to know that all of this is too late. This information is out there, and it makes Trump look like a 21st Century Howard Hughes and it makes his staff look like a bunch of craven, opportunistic idiots.
And let’s not even mention that if they bring a lawsuit against Bannon for violating the NDA, Trump will be required to testify under oath. And if Bannon won that lawsuit, it would result in every single NDA ever signed for Trump being rendered null and void.
What would those guys who are holding on to those Apprentice outtakes do at that point?
But I digress.
As the wrangling over the book and its contents continues, the net effect is that more people will hear about the Bad Craziness, and the notion of Trump as Crazy Old Rich Guy will continue to dig in to the public consciousness - no matter what Trump, his lawyers, his spin team or Fox News says or does. Happy New Year.
Cross-posted to Blah3.com.