In a pathetic turn of tragi-comic irony, blame for the book’s existence falls squarely on the shoulders on its own subject, Donald Trump himself.
Chris Wallace of FOX News described on his show today how a hazy half-order from the Trump resulted in the White House communications team encouraging all administration staff members to cooperate fully with Wolff on his book — provoking some of the most painfully candid accounts one can imagine leaking from a president’s inner circle.
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— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 4, 2018
According to a Wolff article on the book in The Hollywood Reporter today:
I interviewed Donald Trump for The Hollywood Reporter in June 2016, and he seemed to have liked — or not disliked — the piece I wrote. “Great cover!” his press assistant, Hope Hicks, emailed me after it came out (it was a picture of a belligerent Trump in mirrored sunglasses). After the election, I proposed to him that I come to the White House and report an inside story for later publication — journalistically, as a fly on the wall — which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job. No, I said. I’d like to just watch and write a book. ‘A book?’ he responded, losing interest . . . But sure, Trump seemed to say, knock yourself out.
Wolff goes on to describe how Trump’s lackadaisical response resulted in the author’s unbridled access to how the White House sausage gets made — or in the case of the current administration, how it doesn’t:
Since the new White House was often uncertain about what the president meant or did not mean in any given utterance, his non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around — checking in each week at the Hay-Adams hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers who put my name in the “system,” and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch.
Despite their total cooperation in its creation, the president and his administration are now disavowing the exposé, attempting to halt its publication, and calling its granular internal details “lies.” But the joke is on them.
Wolff taped many of the book’s interviews, while others were verified by third parties.
With Trump’s already-shaky credibility dissolving to nothing, the president has only himself to blame.