It’s official: ‘Fire And Fury’ is a smash hit. With its explosive reveal of Trump’s first year in power, the book hit #1 on the bestsellers list, thanks in part to some of the juicy bits being given airtime, the fallout between Trump and Bannon and the idiotic (but still worrying) attempt to stop the book’s publication.
‘Fire And Fury’ is packed with a rare fly-on-the-wall perspective of Trump living in the White House. It is easy to think that it confirms what we already knew but some of the details are very surprising. From separate bedrooms and cheeseburgers in bed to tricking friends wives into sleeping with him, Trump certainly doesn’t come out of it well.
But, in the midst of the hype and the mud-slinging between Jack Wolff and Trump, it’s worth noting several key points:
Wolff’s Critical Hit On Trump
Trump is extremely angry at Wolff and his new book, decrying it as lies and fiction yet his reaction seems to confirm much of what the books alleges: that he is out of control and even unfit for office. What really annoys Trump, however, is that the book damages one of the few things that matter to him: his image.
Everything that Trump has done has been in service to his image. He made his money by selling his name and got elected president because of his portrayal of himself as a tough negotiator, as someone who takes his duties seriously.
The book tears itself all of that and it will hurt Trump massively to be mocked. Without a string of political achievements or any ideological consistency, his image is really all he has. This is why he lashes out at anyone like Bob Corker who see him as he truly is: childish, spoilt and prone to emotional outbursts. ‘Fire And Fury’ will only widen the gulf between what Trump really is and what he wants people to see.
The falling out between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump has been a spectacular event to witness and one that has surprised many observers. It shouldn’t be too surprising though since most of the insults and observations in the book come from Bannon’s mouth. After his own scathing comments being published, Bannon is no longer the golden boy of Trumpism. He has lost the backing of billionaire patron Robert Mercer and his position at Breitbart is imperiled.
This does not mean Bannon is done for. His hateful ideology is still going strong and while he might lose his figurehead position, he knows Trump better than anyone. A little groveling and boot-licking will go a long way in Trump’s book. Regardless, McConnell can rest a little easier, knowing that Bannon’s campaign against the GOP has been stalled.
Ivanka as POTUS?
Speaking Ivanka, she has a lot to dislike about the book herself. Bannon claims that Ivanka is an airhead who is clearly unsuited for his role as a White House advisor. Besides that, she privately mocked her father’s hairstyle and seeks to run for President with Jared’s support.
Much like Trump, Ivanka has her own image to cultivate. She wants the world to see her as a well-mannered humanitarian who stands up for women. In the book, she is malicious and ambitious, disdainful of her father and completely out of touch with reality. It begs the question of which one is the real Ivanka?
Hey, remember Mike Pence? You know, the Vice President? Remember how everyone said that he would help keep Trump in line and restrain him from his worst impulses? He’s usually by Trump’s side during speeches and he’s been seen in Congress, being the tie-breaker.
Yet, for all his efforts, Pence get at least a couple of sentences in the entire book. He’s by Trump’s side and yet he might as well not be there.
Establishment Republicans have been investing time and energy into painting Pence as someone they can trust someone who can keep Trump from going nuts. We may have to contend with the idea that Pence isn’t actually keeping Trump in line. Then again, it’s questionable whether anyone can keep Trump in line.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.” Trump and his team must be expert craftsmen at this point because they have two conflicting views of the book.
On the one hand, the book is a bunch of lies and fabrications. On the other hand, Bannon is getting roasted because of all the things he said in the book, implying that his words and views are true. Both ideas can’t be right.
Adding to the conflicting views are the questions of Trump’s mental stability. Is he mentally deteriorating? Or is he just a child in a man’s body? Wolff thinks it’s the former idea. Indeed, his entire book is centered around the idea that Trump is going senile. However, there is a difference between mental incompetence and habitual incompetence. The fact that aides and even family members are concerned is very telling…
As expected, the Russian investigation gets a lot of coverage and Bannon is the key witness. He explains how Trump failed to recognize how serious to was, called Kushner’s meeting with Russian in Trump Tower “treasonous” and predicted that Kushner’s financial dealings would be the real killer blow to Trump, calling them “greasy.”
In fact, Wolff seems to suggest that Bannon is perfectly positioned to turn traitor and cooperate with Mueller, becoming a Deep Throat-type witness to settle his personal vendetta against Kushner and Ivanka. Highly placed in both the campaign and the administration, Bannon would be more valuable than Flynn as a source of evidence.
Even if he doesn’t, the message is clear: watch Kushner and Deutsche Bank.