Review: First look at book 'Fire and Fury' that claims Trump 'seduces friends' wives' and Bannon called Ivanka a 'f***ing liar'
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the new work by US journalist Michael Wolff, seems to be the tell-all book that other tell-all books call Supreme Commander.
Wolff has taken on no less a figure than the most powerful man on the planet, Donald John Trump, in this mindboggling romp through the most bizarro political story in living history.
By now you’ll have read the excerpted highlights/lowlights, as winkled out by New York magazine and reported around the world: the fact that Trump never expected to actually win the Presidency, Rupert Murdoch calling him “a f**king idiot”, the cheeseburgers and endless telly, not to mention the mother of all break-ups between Trump and his former aide de camp Steve Bannon.
But did you know, according to the controversial book, that he complimented a Middle Eastern dictator’s shoes? Or that he genuinely thinks he’s somehow similar to America’s “white trash”? Or that daughter Ivanka initially thought the notion of a Trump presidency was a joke?
We’ve gone through the just-published book and put together a dirty dozen of the most explosive claims:
- Bannon saw Trump’s, well, trump card as the fact that he was “the last of the alpha males: a 1950s man, a Rat Pack type, a character out of Mad Men.” And Trump reportedly compared himself – in conversation with a fellow billionaire – as being essentially the same as the “white trash” frequenting the casinos of Atlantic City, saying, “They’re people just like me, only they’re poor.”
- One of the things that “made life worth living” for Trump was seducing his friends’ wives, according to the book. His method of seduction involved convincing the woman that her husband was unfaithful, by ringing him on speakerphone and goading him into confessing to infidelity while she listened. The old charmer!
- He and Melania “spent little time together”, even when both were in Trump Towers at the same time, Wolff reports in his much-anticipated book. It might sound odd, but Trump Tower is probably enormous enough for this to be spatially possible. Incidentally, Trump supposedly has a theory that the larger the age difference between a couple – older man, younger woman, naturally – the less likely she would object to his womanising.
- Accounts of the night Trump won the election paint Melania as "crying" and it is claimed she didn’t want Trump to win; and “the only silver lining” of the infamous “grab ‘em by the p**sy” Billy Bush recording was that she was convinced it would mean her husband couldn’t now win the Presidency. Interestingly, when he first mooted a run at the White House in 2014, Melania was one of few people who believed he could do it. Daughter Ivanka, by contrast, considered this notion “a punchline” and “distanced herself” from it.
- On the night of the election, when it became clear that Trump was going to win, Don Jr is said to have told a friend that his father “looked as if he’d seen a ghost”.
- This is the first time since the JFK administration that a Presidential couple have had separate rooms in the White House. Possibly because The Don suspects even Melania, along with the rest of the world, of secretly plotting to poison his toothbrush. This cibophobia is one reason why Trump likes eating at McDonald’s: “nobody knows he’s coming and the food is safely pre-made".
- In another damning report of an internal-fall out in the inner circle Trump’s lawyer Mark Kasowitz had urged him to “send home” Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. They “co-ordinated a lurid set of leaks” about Kasowitz’s personal life: boozing, bad behaviour and so on. He soon got cut from the team. And speaking of lawyers, Jared Kushner’s dad Charlie went to jail in 2005 for a botched plan which involved getting a prostitute to blackmail his own brother-in-law. Republican politician and one-time Trump supporter Chris Christie was the prosecutor. Talk about a tangled web…
- Steve Bannon hated Republican politico Paul Ryan, despite the fact that both were of Irish Catholic stock, a demographic Bannon had a lot of respect for. Irish working-class men were solid, authentic, “philosophically separate from aristocrats and gentry” – in short, they had soul. Ryan, though, was an altar boy who “hadn’t grown up to be a thug, a priest or a politician – but stayed an altar boy”.
- Among the first visitors to the President-elect were internet gurus Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk (he pitched a mission to Mars; Trump responded enthusiastically), and Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who wanted to be made US ambassador to Britain, bizarrely enough. Sadly for the dull world of international diplomacy, there was “no chemistry” between her and Trump, the book says.
- Rather astonishingly, last May, Bannon called Ivanka “a f**king liar”, to her face and in front of her father. Trump metaphorically shrugged his shoulders and reportedly said to an angry Ivanka, “I told you this is a tough town, baby”.
- Wolff has also revealed allegations that Don Jr and Eric Trump are jokingly known – behind their backs – to Trump insiders as Uday and Qusay – the notorious sons of Saddam Hussein.
- During a trip to the Middle East last year, Trump is said to have commented to Egyptian president Abdel el-Sisi, “Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes. Man…” Sure, it beats talking about the weather.