10 wild claims about Trump’s White House from anticipated book ‘Fire and Fury’
U.S. President Donald Trump did not want to win the election. First lady Melania Trump wept with sorrow on election night. Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg tried to explain the Constitution to the candidate, but only made it to the Fourth Amendment before Trump got bored.
These are just a few of the bombshell claims in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” author Michael Wolff’s new book chronicling the first year of Trump’s presidency, from the final days of the 2016 campaign to October of the following year.
The book is set to hit shelves Tuesday, but New York magazine on Wednesday published an adaptation of some key sections. NBC News has also obtained an advance copy of the book. Here are some of the wilder claims to emerge so far:
1. Trump expected to lose the presidential race to Democrat Hillary Clinton and had already planned to return to private life after the campaign was over. Wolff explains what Trump was thinking toward the end of the campaign:
“Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.”
2. One of Trump’s earliest campaign aides tried to educate the candidate about the Constitution, but Trump grew too bored to make it past the Fourth Amendment:
“Early in the campaign, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate. ‘I got as far as the Fourth Amendment,” Nunberg recalled, “before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.'”
3. Trump did not especially like moving into the White House. The president and first lady sleep in separate bedrooms, and Trump prohibits White House housekeepers from picking up things he throws on the floor.
“[Trump] retreated to his own bedroom—the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms. In the first days, he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room. He reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: “If my shirt is on the floor, it’s because I want it on the floor.” Then he imposed a set of new rules: Nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s—nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed.”
4. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner struck a deal over who would get to run for office first.
“Between themselves, the two 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.”
5. Some of Trump’s closest allies, including Rupert Murdoch, were stunned by his lack of understanding on issues of policy. Following a meeting with tech executives during the 2016 transition, Trump reportedly called Murdoch and said he would expand H-1B visas in order to help the industry.
“Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, ‘We’ll figure it out.'”
“‘What a f–king idiot,’ said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.”
6. Trump seemed angry on his Inauguration Day, according to the book. He fought with his wife and was annoyed that notable celebrities did not want to attend, The New York magazine excerpt says.
“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, who has repeatedly warned about China’s growing influence and economic power, drew parallels between the world’s second-largest economy and Nazi Germany, according to a book excerpt.
“China’s everything. Nothing else matters. We don’t get China right, we don’t get anything right. This whole thing is very simple. China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930. The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world, until they’re not. And they’re gonna flip like Germany in the ’30s. You’re going to have a hypernationalist state, and once that happens, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
8. Wolff reports that a spokesman for Trump’s legal team left the job because he feared possible obstruction of justice related to a statement drafted aboard Air Force One that defended Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016.
“Mark Corallo was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed not to even answer his phone. Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome-and privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice-quit. (The Jarvanka side would put it out that Corallo was fired.)”
9. The book says top Trump aides questioned his intelligence in colorful terms. The revelations follow reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” last year.
“For Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, he was an ‘idiot.’ For Gary Cohn, he was ‘dumb as sh-t.’ For H.R. McMaster he was a ‘dope.’ The list went on.”
10. Wolff also writes at length about former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, who leads the president’s National Economic Council. Cohn has privately disagreed with Trump a number of times in the past year. But an April email that, Wolff writes, circulated around the White House “purporting to represent the views of Gary Cohn” takes this to a new level:
“It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything – not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant prick who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits. No one will survive the first year but his family. I hate the work, but feel I need to stay because I’m the only person there with a clue what he’s doing. The reason so few jobs have been filled is that they only accept people who pass ridiculous purity tests, even for midlevel policy-making jobs where the people will never see the light of day. I am in a constant state of shock and horror.”
Shortly after excerpts of the book were published on Wednesday, the White House released a statement from the president, in which he said, “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the book was “filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”
A spokeswoman for the first lady said: “Mrs. Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for President and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did.”
Wolff says he interviewed more than 200 people, including senior White House staff members, over 18 months to gather information for the book. New York magazine, which published a version of the book excerpts, said Wolff had “no ground rules placed on his access” while he prepared the book.