Just when you thought the left couldn’t come up with a more asinine way to attack the Trump administration, they find a way to surprise you.
So what’s their new line of attack? Well, it involves unverified claims, salacious gossip, and outright deceptions.
No, it’s not a CNN news report. It isn’t Rachel Maddow prattling on and on about how Trump is destroying the world. It’s a new book written by author Michael Wolff entitled “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The book contains numerous anecdotes from individuals who have worked — or still work — in the White House under President Donald Trump. As you can imagine, most of the claims made about the president are decidedly negative.
It’s almost as if the author entered the White House intending to collect any statements that could damage the president regardless of their truthfulness or lack thereof. Before the book was published, several people who were “quoted” in the book have disputed Wolff’s claims.
Some Parts of the Fire and Fury are Suspect
Wolff claims to have conducted over 200 interviews in the White House; it is unclear how much of the book is true. The author admits as much in his prologue:
“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are boldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.”
“In other words: Take with a grain of salt, Dear Reader, what you read.”
It appears that in writing his book, Wolff simply included the statements given to him by his interview subjects without verifying any of their claims. He states that the reason he used this approach is that he wanted to “let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them.”
Since Wolff didn’t verify any of the statements given to him, it appears his book contains false information. Several individuals have denied the statements Wolff claims they made.
Thomas Barrack Jr., a billionaire friend of the president, was quoted as saying that Trump is “crazy” and “stupid.” In an interview with Fortune, Barrack states that he never made these disparaging remarks about the president. “I never gave Wolff an interview or any quote,” he said.
Barrack also said he never made any comments to anyone else that could have been interpreted in the way they are represented in Wolff’s book. Barrack also criticizes Wolff for not verifying the information. “What’s amazing is that…he had my phone number, but didn’t call to run the quote by me,” he said. “How can you report that some person allegedly heard this and not call to ask, ‘Did you really say it?’”
The book also states that Katie Walsh, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, indicated that working with the president was like “trying to figure out what a child wants.” According to Fox News, Walsh denies making the statement.
Melania Trump was another subject discussed in Wolff’s book. The claim is that Melania did not want her husband to win the presidency. According to Wolff, she cried when Trump won the election. “Melania was in tears—and not of joy,” he writes. Melania struck back in a statement given by her spokeswoman, saying that she actually encouraged her husband to run for president.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also makes an appearance. Wolff claims that the former Prime Minister told President Trump that the United Kingdom could have had the 2016 election campaign under surveillance. The book also states that Blair was angling for a job with the administration. According to Blair, the book’s claims are a “complete fabrication, literally from beginning to end.”
Wolff also targeted Vogue editor Anna Wintour. According to the book, Wintour wanted Trump to nominate her as the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. However, Wintour told Business Insider that the book’s claims were “laughably preposterous.”
Last, but certainly not least, the book implies that President Trump did not know former Speaker of the House John Boehner. Wolff states that when former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes suggested that Trump should appoint Boehner as his chief of staff, Trump asked, “who’s that?” What is interesting about this particular point is that it is demonstrably false.
Several photos have shown Trump and Boehner golfing together. A Daily Caller report shows several of Trump’s tweets that mention the former Speaker of the House. It’s clear that Trump knows exactly who John Boehner is.
Wolff’s History is Also Suspect
Michael Wolff’s credibility has also been called into question — and not just by conservatives. Before the book was published, The Washington Post reported that many had challenged the writer over statements he has made in his books and newspaper columns. According to The Post, his book “Burn Rate” was widely criticized. “Brill’s Content, a now-defunct media-review publication, cited a dozen people who disputed quotes attributed to them in the book,” they write.
When Wolff wrote a media column for New York Magazine, his work was also disputed several times. In one instance, Judith Regan, the subject of one of his articles, denied almost everything Wolff wrote about her. In 2001, Wolff wrote that Andrew Sullivan of the New Republic “believes that he is the most significant gay public intellectual in America today.” Sullivan says he never made that claim.
These are only a few of the fabrications of which Wolff has been accused. It appears he has a long history of manufactured quotes.
Idle Gossip — Not Relevant Information
The truth of the matter is that Michael Wolff’s book is filled with idle gossip — nothing more, nothing less. It is not a work of journalism — and Wolff does not claim any different.
Instead of attempting to find truthful accounts of individuals working in the White House, it appears the author was only interested in publishing statements that could damage the Trump administration. As Wolff stated in his prologue, he intended to let the reader decide what to make of the quotes in the book.
However, the fact that he did not deem it necessary to vet the statements he was given indicates that he has an anti-Trump agenda. While some of the statements in the book could be true, none of the “revelations” have been outrageous enough to cause lasting damage to the Trump administration. Additionally, it contains enough fake news to give a skeptical person pause. Nevertheless, the establishment media is using the contents of the book to portray Trump as an insane and foolish individual who is not capable of performing his duties.
It won’t work.
They tried the same strategy with President Reagan, and they failed. While those on the left will certainly believe every claim made in the book, those on the right and in the middle can see Wolff’s work for what it is: a long-form gossip piece that belongs in The National Enquirer, not Barnes & Noble.
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.