Book Review: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Starting the year with a bang, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is the controversial, highly sort after book by Michael Wolf , published earlier this month. The 64-year-old journalist and author with a penchant for writing about the rich and powerful, is best known for his columns in New York Magazine and Vanity Fair.

The book circulated like wild fire. I got it from 3 different people on Whatsapp. Most recently, the 2018 Grammy’s reference to this book has continue to boost its fame, with artists like Cardi B and DJ Khaled, as well as Hilary Clinton reading from it during a skit on the show.

To begin with, politics isn’t my cup of tea, less so American politics. I found this book quite difficult to read. I slept off so many times struggling to get through this, and gave up halfway.  I’m probably not the best person to be reviewing this book, but here is what I got about the 45th President of the United States of America: Donald J. Trump

1. Trump As An Individual
Trump has never been the brightest bulb in the room academically. It’s easy to believe that he lacks the patience to read anything and the focus to follow through an in-depth conversation or plan.

Losing track by the 4th amendment…Almost all the professionals who were now set to join him were coming face to face with the fact that it appeared he knew nothing. There was simply no subject, other than perhaps building construction, that he had substantially mastered. Everything with him was off the cuff. Whatever he knew he seemed to have learned an hour before—and that was mostly half-baked.

 He was a social climber happy to be in the media’s eye for whatever reason. It appears he courted the media with his pageants and reality show: The Apprentice, and enjoyed the coverage until he got to the White House and decided to discredit them.

And then there was the harsh fact that the world of Manhattan and particular its living voice, the media, seemed to cruelly reject them. The media long ago turned on Donald Trump as a wannabe and lightweight, and wrote him off for that ultimate sin—anyway, the ultimate sin in media terms—of trying to curry favor with the media too much. His fame, such as it was, was actually reverse fame—he was famous for being infamous. It was joke fame.

In the White House, eating at MacDonald’s out of suspicion, locking his room from the inside against security advice, Trump appears to be somewhat paranoid about being poisoned and does not trust his staff. His age is also starting to tell, going to bed at 6.30pm, repeating the same story word for word, over and over.

2. Trump As A Boss
As a boss, President Trump is prone to emotional extremes. Extreme praise and affection and in the same vein, loathing and utter disregard. There’s little to no moderation of his emotions and his display of them. No tact or diplomacy. Just outbursts evident on the Apprentice and as President of the United States. This made Trump a difficult man to support and manage.

Everybody in Trump’s billionaire circle, concerned about his contempt for other people’s expertise, tried to impress upon him the importance of the people, the many people, he would need with him in the White House, people who understood Washington. Your people are more important than your policies. Your people are your policies.

Everyone who has had a reason to work with and for him including his daughter, Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner have a tough time managing him because of his erratic nature. Consequently, his relationship with people, both colleagues and friends quickly sours.

The leitmotif for Trump about his own campaign was how crappy it was and how everybody involved in it was a loser. He was equally convinced that the Clinton people were brilliant winners—“They’ve got the best and we’ve got the worst,” he frequently said. Time spent with Trump on the campaign plane was often an epic dissing experience: everybody around him was an idiot.
Corey Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s first more or less official campaign manager, was often berated by the candidate. For months Trump called him “the worst,” and in June 2016 he was finally fired. Ever after, Trump proclaimed his campaign doomed without Lewandowski. “We’re all losers,” he would say. “All our guys are terrible, nobody knows what they’re doing. . . . Wish Corey was back.” Trump quickly soured on his second campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well.

3. Trump As President
Becoming President was purely accidental or so the author would like us to believe. Trump didn’t expect to win and saw losing the election as winning in other aspects of life and career.

Donald Trump and his tiny band of campaign warriors were ready to lose with fire and fury. They were not ready to win.

Of course they weren’t. They were so focused on attacking Hilary Clinton and President Obama. His suggestions were always grand and with little thought regarding cause and effect.

Shortly after eight o’clock that evening, 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 quite 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.

In Trump’s first days as President, Steve Bannon, the White House’s chief strategist, was the puppet-master and in many ways the true president. Bannon was known to be the only one who believed Trump would win the election, after which they were inseparable. Bannon spent time with Trump and learnt to manipulate him, feeding him with drastic ideas on key issues including Immigration, Islam, climate change, and foreign trade.

4. Trump As A Husband
We saw Melania fake smiles during the inauguration and watched her smack his hand away on numerous public occasions. We even have reason to believe she used a stunt-double at a public event out with the President. So it’s common knowledge that the president’s relationship with is wife is strained.

Donald Trump’s marriage was perplexing to almost everybody around him—or it was, anyway, for those without private jets and many homes. He and Melania spent relatively little time together. They could go days at a time without contact, even when they were both in Trump Tower. Often she did not know where he was, or take much notice of that fact. Her husband moved between residences as he would move between rooms. Along with knowing little about his whereabouts, she knew little about his business, and took at best modest interest in it. An absentee father for his first four children, Trump was even more absent for his fifth, Barron, his son with Melania. Now on his third marriage, he told friends he thought he had finally perfected the art: live and let live—“Do your own thing.”

He was a notorious womanizer, and during the campaign became possibly the world’s most famous masher. While nobody would ever say Trump was sensitive when it came to women, he had many views about how to get along with them, including a theory he discussed with friends about how the more years between an older man and a younger woman, the less the younger woman took an older man’s cheating personally.

5. Trump To Friends and Colleagues
Donald Trump is tolerated by many and loved by very few. He is divisive, lewd or questionable moral standing.

Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends’ wives into bed. In pursuing a friend’s wife, he would try to persuade the wife that her husband was perhaps not what she thought. Then he’d have his secretary ask the friend into his office; once the friend arrived, Trump would engage in what was, for him, more or less constant sexual banter. Do you still like having sex with your wife? How often? You must have had a better fuck than your wife? Tell me about it. I have girls coming in from Los Angeles at three o’clock. We can go upstairs and have a great time. I promise . . . And all the while, Trump would have his friend’s wife on the speakerphone, listening in.

In his calls throughout the day and at night from his bed, he frequently spoke to people who had no reason to keep his confidences. He was a river of grievances—including about what a dump the White House was on close inspection—examples of which many recipients of his calls promptly spread throughout the ever attentive and merciless gossip world.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed in this book only because it confirms what most of us already deduced about President Donald Trump being a curmudgeon, too old for office, patriarchal, unintellectual, poor character and clearly lacking in moral-standing.

Do I believe the author? Mostly. In my humble opinion, Trump gave the author’s work credence by acknowledging and tweeting about it in his own defense.

In all, Trump being elected President of what is supposed to be the greatest nation in the world today, is an indication of who majority of Americans really are, their values and expectations of a leader.


Have you read this book? What do you think?
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8 replies

  1. I know I can’t read this book beyond page 2, you did a good job to narrow it for my kind of person. Trump is fun to watch. A Public funny face figure.

    Like

    • I was skeptical about the books authenticity. But I watched an interview with the author and he said and I quote “like every journalist, I have my recordings”. So I want to believe he can back these claims.
      Thank you for reading 💋

      Like

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