The following are excerpts from Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, an incendiary new book by Michael Wolff which was rushed into bookstores on January 5 after President Donald Trump failed to suppress it.
The book quickly sold out in shops in the U.S. capital, with some lining up at midnight to get their hands on the instant best-seller, dismissed by Mr. Trump as “phoney” and “full of lies”.
Without addressing specifics, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said there were things in the book that were “completely untrue”, while Mr. Trump denounced comments attributed to Steve Bannon, saying his former chief strategist had “lost his mind.”
Team Trump: running to lose
“’We’re all losers,’ Trump would say. ‘All our guys are terrible, nobody knows what they’re doing.’”
“’This thing,’ he told the Mercers, ‘is so f***** up’”.
Mr. Trump was reportedly addressing the family of Bob Mercer, the ultra-conservative billionaire sponsors who swung behind his campaign in its final months — and who reiterated their support in the wake of Mr. Wolff’s bombshell book.
The shock of election night
“When the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he called him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania, to whom Donald Trump had made his solemn guarantee, was in tears — and not of joy.”
“There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States.”
Bannon on meeting with Russians
“‘The three senior guys in the campaign’, an incredulous Bannon went on, ‘thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers.
‘They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately’.”
Mr. Bannon was referring to Mr. Trump’s son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Learning the Constitution
“Early in the campaign, in a Producers-worthy scene, (campaign aide) Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: ‘I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head’.”
George W. Bush on Trump’s inaugural address
“That’s some weird s***.”
Trump’s Putin obsession
“‘What has he gotten himself into with the Russians?’ pressed (the late Fox News chairman Roger) Ailes. ‘Mostly,’ said Bannon, ‘he went to Russia and he thought he was going to meet Putin. But Putin couldn’t give a s*** about him. So he’s kept trying’.”
Trump’s Murdoch obsession
“’I’ll call him,’ said Mr. Ailes. ‘But Trump would jump through hoops for Rupert. Like for Putin. Sucks up and s***s down. I just worry about who’s jerking whose chain.’”
Murdoch on Trump?
“‘What a f***ing idiot’, said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone after talking immigration issues with Mr. Trump.
Too much to think about
“‘I wouldn’t give Donald too much to think about,’ said an amused Ailes. Bannon snorted. ‘Too much, too little — doesn’t necessarily change things’.”
Trump fears being poisoned
“He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made.”
Flattery and Egyptian shoes
“Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian strongman, ably stroked the president and said, ‘You are a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.’ (To Sisi, Trump replied, ‘Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes. Man…’)”
‘Our man’ in Saudi
“Within weeks of (Trump’s Saudi) trip, MBS (Mohammed bin Salman), detaining MBN (Mohammed bin Nayef) quite in the dead of night, would force him to relinquish the Crown Prince title, which MBS would then assume for himself. Trump would tell friends that he and Jared had engineered a Saudi coup: ‘We’ve put our man on top!’”
Ivanka’s presidential ambitions
“Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew. It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.”
Her brothers’ presidential nicknames
“His sons, Don Jr. and Eric — behind their backs known to Trump insiders as Uday and Qusay, after the sons of Saddam Hussein.”
And the comb-over: explained by Ivanka
“She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the centre and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The colour, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair colour.”