A tell-all book that criticizes the Trump administration has caused excitement in all political realms in the first weeks of 2018.
The book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, is compiled with information from the first hundred days of Trump’s time in office. Wolff held interviews with over 200 members of the West Wing staff, including former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Though it was published on Jan. 5, 2018, it is already on its eleventh printing and has topped the New York Times bestseller list.
“I am not a hit man,” Wolff told NPR. “I’m someone who just found his way into this story of our time and just wanted to tell it as clearly as possible and with as much understanding as possible.”
Trump has called this book a “fake,” and in response to the publishing of the book, an attorney representing Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to publisher Henry Holt. After the arrival of the letter, the book was published 4 days early. Trump’s attorneys then threatened with intent to sue.
“The president is free to call news ‘fake’ and to blast the media. That goes against convention, but it is not unconstitutional,” wrote John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, the parent company of Henry Holt, in a memo to employees. “But a demand to cease and desist publication—a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher into halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government—is an attempt to achieve what is called prior restraint. That is something that no American court would order as it is flagrantly unconstitutional.”
The book raised questions of Trump’s suitability for office, which led Trump to tweet on Jan. 6 that he was a “very stable genius.” Other criticisms include that, according to Bannon, Trump never wanted to win the 2016 presidential election and that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer was treasonous.
“I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book!” Trump wrote in a tweet on Jan. 4. “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!”
“Sloppy Steve” refers to Bannon, who has been excommunicated from the conservative party since the release of the book. Bannon has been removed from his seat as executive chairman of Breitbart News, which he founded, and was also removed as a Sirius XM host. Wolff now claims that he is the reason why Bannon is “out.”
Since the book’s popularity continues to rise, so do arguments against it. According to a Politico poll conducted on Jan. 4, 25 percent of voters find the book to be “not credible at all” while 32 percent find it to be “very” or “somewhat” credible. People from both inside and outside of the White House and from both sides of the political aisle have voiced concern about Wolff’s known history as someone who bends the truth and gives a bad name to journalists.
“When you write a book like this, people regret what they said to me,” said Wolff. “What they say to any reporter who they relax with and they forget who they’re talking to, I have sympathy for that, and I think the natural response is to say, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t say it.’ But I will tell you, they said it.”