Who Is Ronald Kessler? His Trump White House Book Is No 'Fire & Fury'
There's another book about the Trump administration on the way, and it's already making headlines. But who is Ronald Kessler, its author? And what unique intel does he have on the current presidency? Apparently quite a bit, he claims, thanks to who he calls the "number one leaker," Kellyanne Conway. Here's everything you need to know about Kessler and his forthcoming tell-all.
Kessler, author of The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game, recently appeared on CNN's Jake Tapper's State of the Union, where he discussed the new book, the turnover in the White House, and the recent departure of communications director Hope Hicks.
The book, which will be released this week, defends the president, according to Tapper, on topics like the Russia investigation, the Access Hollywood tape, and his marriage to Melania. It also "repeatedly attacks the press," Tapper said.
"I think it's a truthful book," Kessler said. "It says that he will be seen as a great president just like Reagan, who was dissed by the press, based on the results, [for instance] unemployment [and] getting rid of ISIS."
Kessler — a conservative author who has published more than 20 non-fiction books on topics like the presidency, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and the CIA — believes that years from now, Trump's "tweets and controversies will be forgotten." However, "at the same time," he said, "there are plenty of negative items in the book."
A lot of these negative items apparently came from Conway, who Kessler calls the "number one leaker." The author told Tapper that while he was interviewing the counselor to the president, she "forgot that she was on the record and she started lashing into [former White House Chief of Staff] Reince Priebus." He also saw texts she sent to journalists leaking information about her colleagues.
Aside from a few "juicy tidbits," the book is reportedly overwhelmingly in defense of the Trump White House. According to Media Matters, Kessler was once a journalist for more mainstream publications, including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post but has since become a right-wing writer "known for his gossipy style."
He is the author of The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents, which included disparaging details about the Clintons and was found to have several inaccuracies, The Week reported.
According to Kessler's website, the New York Times best-selling author began his career as a journalist in 1964, writing for the Worcester Telegram. He then spent three years as an investigative reporter for the Boston Herald, later joining the Wall Street Journal in 1968 as an investigative reporter in the New York bureau. His last reporter role for a mainstream publication was at theWashington Post from 1970 to 1985.
In 2014, Kessler was accused in a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee of pushing false claims about the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the CIA. The report states Kessler was "blessed" by then-director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, and that his book, The CIA at War, "included inaccurate claims about the effectiveness of CIA interrogations, much of it consistent with the inaccurate information being provided by the CIA to policymakers at that time."
In addition to the details about Conway leaking information, Kessler's latest book also covers Jared and Ivanka's role in the White House. He claimed the First Daughter and her husband pushed "the most disastrous and foolish decisions of Trump's presidency," including the hiring of controversial former communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Kessler writes that despite this, Trump would never fire them. In fact, he doesn't usually fire people himself, according to Kessler, but rather "makes their lives miserable."
Another detail that's emerged from the upcoming book is Melania's apparently integral role in the administration. "She's a very powerful behind-the-scenes force," former communications director Sean Spicer told Kessler. "I don't think people fully recognize how influential she is."