“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff ★★★

Audio narrated by Holter Graham

If the author is to be believed, then this is an insider look at the first nine months of the Trump presidency. Michael Wolff claims to have been given full access to the White House during his tenure there. His method of writing includes dialogue between people, which is created to make an easy-to-read narrative but has to be taken as is; it is a third-party viewpoint. If he is to be believed, then it’s not good, folks.

Michael Wolff does not source his information, which is too bad because that makes it easy for naysayers to brush off what very easily could be believed to be the truth. Sadly, it does seem to fit in with what we see with our own eyes. In fact, the most damaging reflections on the president and those surrounding him…are statements made directly by the president and those surrounding him. Statements which we have either video proof of or have been pulled directly from Trump’s Twitter feed.

The most damaging claims (from my viewpoint) that aren’t derived directly from Trump’s mouth cover things such as how Trump bragged about how he enjoyed sleeping with his friends’ wives, often turning those wives against their husbands by doing things like having conversations with the husbands about how they aren’t getting action like they used to, and “I’m bringing some girls in later. Want to join in the fun?” After goading the middle-aged men to take the bait, the men would discover that their wives were listening to the conversation over the phone. Har-har-har. Doesn’t that make Trump seem like a stud?

Of course, what makes Trump look the worst (again in my opinion) is his inflated ego and constant obsession with how he comes across to the public. His narcissism is astounding. If he wasn’t such a self-serving, careless, and thoughtless person, I would probably feel sorry for him.

Most of the book centers around all the machinations by everyone in the inner circle who seem to not be doing any actual work and are spending all their time focusing on how to cement their own futures. They all appear to be ass-kissing, manipulative, disgusting, greedy, shameless and soulless.

The focus of the book seemed to be on the rivalry between Jarvanka (Jared & Ivanka Kushner) and Rasputin (Steve Bannon). They apparently spend a LOT of time trying to discredit the other in Trump’s eyes, both sides having dreams of their own future presidencies. As the book progresses, the journalistic objectivity lessens and it becomes very apparent that Michael Wolff holds no regard whatsoever for anyone in the inner circle. That too, although warranted, takes away a lot of the credibility the book could hold because it is obviously a heavy-handed attempt to discredit the White House.  He really should have toned it down a bit–although how DO you make crazy seem less crazy?

Not much is said about Pence. I think he is sitting back trying to look like the grownup and waiting for his turn. That may work for him, gay conversion therapy enthusiast or not. Anyone at this point is going to look reasonable after we get through 45.

One bright spot of humor was mention of the inauguration itself:

When he came off the podium after delivering his address, he kept repeating, “Nobody will forget this speech.” George W. Bush, on the dais, supplied what seemed likely to become the historic footnote to the Trump address: “That’s some weird shit.”

My conclusion: Trump may not like how he comes across in this book, but he continues to be his own worst enemy.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

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