The explosive new book by Michael Wolff about the Trump White House is out Friday. From details about Donald Trump’s campaign to the fiefdoms that formed after inauguration, we’ll have the highlights from Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House here.
A note: Wolff himself said that the details in the book “are in conflict with one another” and that many are “baldy untrue.” In some cases, he said the reader would be allowed to judge the versions told to him. For other details, he “settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”
Wolff thanks White House
The White House and President Trump himself have already disavowed author and journalist Michael Wolff, but, in the introduction, Wolff himself said he owes them a lot.
“For whatever reason, almost everyone I contacted — senior members of the White House staff as well as dedicated observers of it — shared large amounts of time with me and went to great effort to help shed light on the unique nature of life inside the Trump White House. In the end, what I witnesses, and what this book is about, is a group of people who have struggled, each in their own way, to come to terms with the meaning of working for Donald Trump. I owe them an enormous debt.”
Roger Ailes questioned everything
The former Fox News CEO and chairman was unsure of Trump’s political prowess: “Politicians were front men in a complex organizational effort. Operatives knew the game, and so did most candidates and officeholders. But Ailes was pretty sure Trump did not. Trump was undisciplined.”
Trump also reportedly asked Ailes to chair his campaign. After Ailes turned him down, Steve Bannon got the job a week later.
Moving the U.S. embassy
The plan was always to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Bannon.
“Day one we’re moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” he told Ailes, and the move was supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
This didn’t quite happen on day one, but the Trump administration announced the move in December.
The Trump marriage
“The notion that this was a marriage in name only was far from true,” the book reads.
Per the book, Trump spoke of his wife, Melania, frequently, proudly called her a “trophy wife,” and sought her approval.
She didn’t want her husband to win (though she reportedly was among the only people who believed he could win when he started pondering a run back in 2014). And he believed he could deliver that to her.
“He offered his wife a solemn guarantee: there was simply no way he would win. And even for a chronically — he would say helplessly — unfaithful husband, this was one promise to his wife that he seemed sure to keep.”
Michael Flynn didn’t think Russia speech would be a problem
Michael Flynn — who would later go on to become Trump’s national security adviser before resigning amid revelations that he’d spoken with the Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration — was paid $45,000 for speaking at an anniversary conference for RT, the state-funded Russian TV network, in 2015.
But that was fine, he thought.
“Flynn…had been told by friends that it had not been a good idea to take $45,000 from the Russians for a speech. ‘Well, it would only be a problem if we won,’ he assured them, knowing that it would therefore not be a problem.”
Some Trump associates believed that Trump scoffing at Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election was “a perfect example of his inability to connect the dots.”
Even if he hadn’t personally conspired with the Russians to fix the election, his efforts to curry favor with, of all people, Vladimir Putin had no doubt left a trail of alarming words and deeds likely to have enormous political costs,” the book reads.
One person who was particular concerned? Ailes. “You’ve got to get right on Russia,” the former Fox News chairman told Trump.
Later in the book, a “national Republican figure” told Kushner not to upset the intelligence community, because that could lead to a Russia investigation. “If you f— with the intel community they will figure out a way to get back at you and you’ll have two or three years of a Russia investigation, and every day something else will leak out,” this person told Kushner.
Trump as Chris Christie’s VP?
In the years before he launched his own bid for the presidency, Trump considered himself a potential vice president for someone he admired: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, when Christie was anticipating a presidential run in 2012 and 2013.
After winning the 2016 election, Trump also reportedly considered making Christie attorney general or chief of staff. So why isn’t he? Per the book, it comes down to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Christie sent Kushner’s father, Charlie, to jail in 2005 for a tax fraud scheme.
“Ivanka told her father that Christie’s appointment as chief of staff or to any other high position would be extremely difficult for her and her family, and it would be best that Christie be removed from the Trump orbit altogether,” the book reads.
Travel ban to make liberals ‘crazy’
When Trump signed his executive order that banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, it led to an uproar of legal challenges and protests — all on a Friday.
Why Friday? Bannon explained the reasoning:
“‘Err…that’s why,’ said Bannon. ‘So the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.’ That was the way to crush the liberals: make them crazy and drag them left.”