Originally published January 2018
Like I wasn’t going to read this book.
When word hit the street that Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” was set to be published, I couldn’t hit the pre-order button on my iPad fast enough. (No hard copy, thanks — I couldn’t justify killing a tree for what I was sure was going to be spilled out over cable TV before I could read the whole thing.)
For hard core anti-Trumpers, Fire and Fury is an immensely gratifying — and disturbing — read. Wolff’s fly on the couch approach, even if arguably not 100 percent accurate, paints a pretty horrifying account of just how much of a clusterf*ck the White House is and has been for the better part of a year. It’s hard to imagine how this level of ineptitude can sustain itself much longer.
All the stories we’ve heard since last January are on the pages within, a greatest hits for all of us head scratchers, from the inauguration crowd size debacle to Mike Flynn to Joe and Mika to Charlottesville to Air Force One antics to his myriad trips overseas and to Trump properties, with the book culminating with Steve Bannon’s last days in the White House.
The most salacious material has been parsed through on TV since early last week, but it’s still interesting to read in context. And there were a few tidbits along the way that I hadn’t heard. Like, for example, the timing of Reince Preibus’ resignation (yikes) and what sounds like an under the radar charge that Trump was bedding women other than Melania the entire time he was campaigning. Not surprising, just … eww.
At its heart, this really is a war time tale, with Bannon on one side, representing the anti-establishment in all its glory, and “Javanka” — Ivanka and Jared Kushner — on the other, trying to push a moderate Republican, if not more centrist agenda. I’d be all for that but for the fact it appears they have no bloody idea what they are doing. From the first chapter to the last, it’s a cavalcade of political stars and wanna bes taking sides then betraying those interests, picking up new soldiers and then discarding them with no mercy. Judas may have well fit in this joint.
It’s hard to say who is playing who at this point, especially since as of this morning (1/7/18) Bannon offered up a few comments about “regrets” surrounding the book and his commentary that pretty much wrote the thing. I suspect we are all being played in some fashion.
It’s not the most well-written political memoir I’ve ever read — I’d still hand that trophy to “Game Change” or “The President’s Club”, but it was entertaining to say the least and offers some fresh perspective when you’ve been on an all-cable news, all the time diet. Now I can watch with an even sharper eye, reminded that 99 percent of what we hear is all for show.