In case you hadn't heard, a new book about President Trump was released on Friday morning. Entitled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the exposé on how POTUS and those around him make the White House function (or, in Wolff's telling, dysfunction) has caused a hubbub in the media and political world. And in a frank interview on Today about Fire and Fury, Wolff spoke about Trump while making exactly zero apologies, qualifications, or concessions for his reporting.
Anchor Savannah Guthrie kicked off the interview by pressing Wolff on the book's authenticity, a question raised most vocally by none other than Trump himself. After pointing out that in his long journalistic career, he had yet to issue a correction, Wolff made his case clear: he stands by "absolutely everything in the book." (Wolff's reporting tactics have been questioned before.)
When Guthrie pointed out his credibility was being questioned, Wolff responded guns blazing, saying, "My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point."
On the issue of Trump's latest threats to sue Wolff and his publisher, the author pointed to Trump's track record in claiming future legal action. “One of the things we have to count on is that Donald Trump will attack, he’ll send lawyers’ letters, this is a 35-year history of how he approaches everything.” For his part, Wolff seemed blithely unconcerned with the president's bluster.
“Not only is he helping me sell books, he’s helping me prove the point of the book," Wolff said.
And that point appears to be exposing what Wolff sees as an open secret in the White House — that Trump is unfit to be president, and everyone working for him knows it.
On this, Wolff is dead serious. “Let me put a marker in the sand here: 100% of the people around him” question Trump's intelligence and his ability to do his job.
If any outsider could know such a thing, Wolff makes the case that he is that person. He not only spoke directly with the president, but also "people who spoke to the president on a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute basis.” Indeed, White House reporters have verified Wolff's presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it seems to have been a recurring event.
And one that, according to Wolff, granted him access to the closest of Trump's inner circle, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. On whether or not they too harbor a pessimistic view of the president, Wolff said, "Certainly Jared and Ivanka, in their current situation, which is a ... deep legal quagmire, are putting everything on the president. ‘Not us, it’s him.’”
Wolff spent much of the interview on the topic of Trump's intellectual capabilities. Commenting on the president's decision to go after him and his publisher, Wolff said a White House source related staff members' struggle to contain him. "We should not be doing this, this is not smart, and he just insists, he just has to be satisfied in the moment," Wolff said.
"Let’s remember," he added, "this man does not read, does not listen. He’s like a pinball, just shooting off the sides."
Then Wolff shared an anecdote of Trump struggling to recognize lifelong friends at an event at Mar-a-Lago. He referenced the increasing frequency with which POTUS will repeat the same story, more than once, in what many of his book's sources note is a diminishing timeframe.
When Guthrie pressed Wolff to spell out exactly what he was implying, he responded, “I will quote Steve Bannon: ‘He’s lost it.’”
Wolff's interview was a smorgasbord of uncensored quips, and if the book's excerpts are indicative of the work as a whole, Fire and Fury will serve readers plenty more of the same.