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Fire and Fury: Bad news for the President who cried Wolff?


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In his incendiary new book, Michael Wolff makes claims against the President from a variety of sources, particularly from amongst those who have been Trump’s closest advisors throughout the first year of his Presidency.

The book was published ahead of Trump’s meeting with republicans to outline their 2018 policies at Camp David this Friday. In Wolff’s words, Fire and Fury ‘offers a front-row view of Trump’s presidency, from his improvised transition to his first months in the Oval Office.’

The book and e-book both reached top of the sales tables on both and Apple iBooks store, and there were huge queues for it anticipating its release on 5th January. For a President who likes to brag about his popularity based on ‘huge crowds, despite the fact that polls have shown him to have ‘the lowest approval rating of any post-war US President at the end of their first calendar year in office’, this has been received as a major insult. 

Fire and Fury first made headlines for its instant success, and its attacks against Trump’s intellect and mental health. Allegations against leaders’ based on their proposed psychological state, as have also been launched against current UK PM Theresa May in the past year do not hold much worth, because arguments based on the slippery subject of a person’s mental health are bound to be open to irresolvable dispute. More damaging to Trump’s political integrity are Wolff’s recorded conversations between Trump’s aides which suggest that Trump never expected to win the 2016 election; and that once he was in power his own government officials began to query his fitness for office. Furthermore, evidence of Trump’s traits revealed from sources inside the White House which make him certifiably unsuitable for presidency, such as his inability to read state documents, also help create an ironically-written case for termination of his time in office. 

The book has also received much attention for the audacious statements from Trump’s former aides such as Steve Bannon who was quoted to have criticised the meeting of the President’s son with members of the Kremlin as ‘treasonous’, as well as myriad other activities in the Trump Tower. Wolff states that his evidence is sourced from a three hour long interview at the White House with the President himself. Trump has hit back particularly against Bannon and the legitimacy of Wolff’s claims, with a characteristic bombardment of defensive tweets and counter-criticisms. The President claims that he never had an interview with the journalist Wolff and that his work is ‘fiction’. If statements made in the book are proven false as the President claims, this could have the opposite effect of bolstering Trump’s claims that the media are taking ‘shots at (him)’ with their ‘fake news’.   

Trump claims that Fire and Fury is: ‘full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.’ He urged his followers to ‘look at this guy’s (Wolff’s) past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve [Bannon]!' The book has also been dubbed by journalist of The Independent Andrew Griffin as ‘a gossip book’ which reveals trivial details of Trumps life, but that it still has use in providing a condensed history of Trump’s chaotic first year which acts as leverage against him.  Furthermore, the new rift between the President’s first and last ‘White House Chief Strategist’ Steve Bannon and Trump already suggests that Wolff’s most damning piece of evidence: that Bannon amongst other aides, has hinted at the activation of the 25th Amendment – in other words impeaching the President on the grounds that he is disabling his office – is true. 

The fact that Trump contradicts himself on whether or not he knows Wolff also confirms that the President has something to hide concerning the journalist. As broadcast on BBC News, Trump said: ‘I don’t know this man and I guess sloppy Steve brought him into the White House quite a bit and that’s why sloppy Steve is now looking for a job.’

But he had previously also stated that: ‘I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book!’ proving that contrary to his claims, Trump did know who Wolff was.

It seems that after sifting through the sensationalism, Wolff’s book could provide useful leverage for those willing his impeachment, as it has successfully sparked an official conversation around the idea which seems to place Trump as the bigger proponent of ‘fake news’, not least through the backlash only just begun by President Trump himself.

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