A stick of political dynamite exploded on Friday with the publication of Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff's incredible inside account of Donald Trump's presidency. The book is full of alarming anecdotes about the president and his senior staff, and the most eye-popping quotes from Fire and Fury shocked even seasoned observers of the administration.
Based on over 200 interviews with Trump and his associates, the book was controversial before it even came out. Excerpts published earlier in the week quoted former top advisor Steve Bannon saying several derisive things about Trump and his family, opening a huge rift between the two former allies. Trump (who denies having ever spoken to Wolff for the book) responded by denouncing Bannon and sending him a cease-and-desist letter. Fire and Fury's publisher responded by releasing the book four days earlier than originally planned.
Wolff is a controversial journalist, as some of his peers have accused him of playing loose with the facts. Interestingly, Wolff himself acknowledges this in Fire and Fury, writing in his preface that "many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book."
Controversy aside, here are the most jaw-dropping quotes from a truly jaw-dropping book.
"Getting Your Friends' Wives Into Bed"
According to Wolff, Trump often attempted to sleep with his friend's wives by first convincing them that their husbands are willing to cheat on them.
He Didn't Want To Win
If Wolff's reporting is accurate, Trump didn't want or expect to win the presidency, and saw his campaign largely as a springboard for a future career in conservative media.
Melania In Tears
According to the book, Melania Trump didn't want her husband to win the election, and cried when he did.
"An Earnest Deal"
Many were surprised at the phrasing of this passage, as it suggests that Kushner — a notoriously camera-shy operator who's largely worked behind the scenes in the Trump administration — wants to be president someday.
Many have cast doubt on Wolff's claim that Trump didn't know who former Speaker of the House John Boehner was, given that he tweeted about Boehner many times and played golf with him at least once.
It's significant when a former top presidential advisor accuses the president's son of treason, which Bannon did. Unrelatedly, nobody has been able to figure out what Bannon meant by "jumos."
This reportedly happened after the release of the infamous Steele dossier, in which a former British intelligence agent wrote that Trump hired prostitutes in Moscow to urinate on a bed that Barack Obama slept in. Trump denies this allegation.
This was only one of several insults that Trump's ostensible allies allegedly hurled at him: Wolff reports that chief economic advisor Gary Cohn called the president "dumb as sh*t" and former White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus said he was an "idiot." It's been previously reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "moron," and Tillerson has refused to deny that reporting.
Yates was briefly Trump's former acting Attorney General, but he fired her in January when she announced that she wouldn't defend his travel ban in court. This is how Trump reacted, according to Wolff.
"Well-Short Of Intelligent"
Wolff alleges that White House officials widely regard the vice president as an unintelligent man — or, in Wolff's characterization, an "empty suit who was useless in the daily effort to help restrain the president and stabilize the West Wing."
In one section, Wolff writes that Trump seriously entertained the notion of appointing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the vacant Supreme Court seat he inherited. That seat ultimately went to Neil Gorsuch, but Wolff reports that at one point, Trump "decided to pull [Gorsuch's] nomination and, during conversations with his after-dinner callers, went back to discussing how he should have given the nod to Rudy."
"His Real Wife"
Eww. Just, eww.
Wolff alleges that senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, although dismissive of the president in private, was yanked from the airwaves by the White House for being too supportive of him in her television appearances.
Many Trump critics saw Fire and Fury as confirming their worst fears about Trump and his administration, while defenders of the president have written it off as a work of fiction. Either way, readers lined up to buy it the morning of its release. It immediately shot to the top of several bestseller lists, and as this writing, it's out of stock at Barnes & Noble's website. If nothing else, the controversy surrounding Fire and Fury has been great for sales.