Journalist Michael Wolff’s new book documenting the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency isn’t out until next week, but the excerpts we got on Wednesday have already had a major impact – leading the President to torch former senior strategist Steve Bannon.
There’s lots and lots more news in the adapted excerpt of Wolff’s book that New York magazine published Wednesday afternoon, however. I went through the piece and plucked out my favorite – and most telling – lines. (You can – and should – read the whole piece here.)
1. “This is bigger than I ever dreamed of,” (Trump) told (Fox News boss Roger) Ailes a week before the election. “I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.”
2. “The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior or their worldview one whit.”
3. “There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States.”
4. “This was a real-life version of Mel Brooks’s The Producers, where the mistaken outcome trusted by everyone in Trump’s inner circle – that they would lose the election – wound up exposing them for who they really were.”
5. “We’re going to flood the zone so we have every Cabinet member for the next seven days through their confirmation hearings,” (Bannon) said of the business-and-military, 1950s-type Cabinet choices. “Tillerson is two days, Sessions is two days, Mattis is two days … “
6. “Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. He was angry that A-level stars had snubbed the event, disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House, and visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears. Throughout the day, he wore what some around him had taken to calling his golf face: angry and pissed off, shoulders hunched, arms swinging, brow furled, lips pursed.”
7. “Bannon?” said the President, jumping on his son-in-law. “That wasn’t Bannon’s idea. That was my idea. It’s the Trump way, not the Bannon way.”
8. “Between themselves, (Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner) had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.”
9. “(Trump) could not really converse, not in the sense of sharing information, or of a balanced back-and-forth conversation. He neither particularly listened to what was said to him nor particularly considered what he said in response. He demanded you pay him attention, then decided you were weak for groveling.”
10. “If (Trump) was not having his 6:30 dinner with Steve Bannon, then, more to his liking, he was in bed by that time with a cheeseburger, watching his three screens and making phone calls – the phone was his true contact point with the world – to a small group of friends, who charted his rising and falling levels of agitation through the evening and then compared notes with one another.”
THE POINT: This book is explosive – in a number of ways – for Trumpworld. They will seek to push back on Wolff; White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday afternoon that the book was filled with falsehoods. But, if past is prologue with these sorts of behind-the-scenes tell-alls, we are just beginning to feel the impact of Wolff’s book.
Read Wednesday’s full edition of The Point.