Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
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Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is a tell-all book about United States President Donald Trump's first year in the White House. Author Michael Wolff wrote the book after 18 months in the West Wing, creating a number of controversies due to its unflattering portrayal of the president, resulting in numerous cease and desists from the president.
New York Magazine Excerpt
On January 3rd, 2018, New York Magazine published a lengthy excerpt from the Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. The article states that Wolff had unpreceidented access to the president, following the White House over 18 months, conducting more than 200 interviews. Additionally, he alleges, "In true Trumpian fashion, the administration’s lack of experience and disdain for political norms made for a hodgepodge of journalistic challenges. Information would be provided off-the-record or on deep background, then casually put on the record. Sources would fail to set any parameters on the use of a conversation, or would provide accounts in confidence, only to subsequently share their views widely. And the president’s own views, private as well as public, were constantly shared by others."
The selection describes the night that Donald Trump became president, alleging that his candidacy was never intended to carry him into the presidency. In the piece, it also states that the Trump team was unprepared for the presidency, assuming that he was going to lose the race. For example, it describes the would-be careers of the Trump White House after his defeat. He also describes how scared they were of victor. Wolff writes:
"Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? 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.
"Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend -- Trump might actually win -- seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears -- and not of joy."
Steven Bannon Quotes
On January 3rd, the Guardian published a preview of the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff. In the selection, Bannon is quoted discussing Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner's meeting with several Russian agents at Trump Tower in 2016. He said:
"Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."
That day, the comments were posted on the /r/RussiaLago and /r/politics subreddits, where threy garnered more than 1,100 points, respectively.
Later that day, President Trump released a statement on Bannon's comments. They 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. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party."
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base--he’s only in it for himself.
Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.
Online, people noted how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's various support systems reacted positively to the President's statements. The official Twitter account for Team Mitch tweeted a gif of McConnell smiling. Within three hours, the post (shown below, left) has received more than 1,400 retweets and 3,400 likes.
Twitter user @BrenScher tweeted a screenshot from the Senate Leadership Fund with the caption "Team McConnell so happy it is putting emojis in press releases." The post (shown below) received more than 200 retweets and 500 likes in four hours.
Later that day, Donald Trump Jr tweeted, "Andrew Breitbart would be ashamed of the division and lies Steve Bannon is spreading!" The post (shown below) received more than 3,200 retweets and 10,000 likes in less than five hours.
Cease and Desist
On the evening of January 3rd, 2018, one of President Trump's attorneys, Charles J. Harder, sent Bannon a cease-and-desist notice, forbidding the former adviser from making disparaging remarks against the president. In a statement by Harder, the firm states:
"This law firm represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent."
The letter to Bannon warns him of legal ramifications for making negative comments about the president, stating that Bannon violated a non-disclosure agreement. It reads:
"You [Bannon] have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, knowing that they would be included in Mr. Wolff’s book and publicity surrounding the marketing and sale of his book."
The following day, Bannon reiterated his support for President Trump on Breitbart News Tonight, the SiriusXM radio show he hosts. He said, "The President of the United States is a great man. You know, I support him day in and day out."
Trump Attempts to Block Book
On January 4th, Trump sent a cease and desist to the publisher of the book in an 11-page letter, demanding a retraction of the article, cancelation of the books publication and an apology. The letter states:
"Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book, the article, or any excerpts or summaries of either of them, to any person or entity, and that you issue a full and complete retraction and apology to my client as to all statements made about him in the book and article that lack competent evidentiary support."
Rather than pulling the book, the publisher Herny Holt and Co. moved up the publication date from January 9th, 2018 to January 5th, due to the high demand for the book.
Following the cease and desist, on January 4th, Trump tweeted, "I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!" The tweet (shown below) received more than 19,000 retweets and 77,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
Questions of Legitmacy
Some questioned the authenticity of some of the claims made in Wolff's book. These questions include a portion in the book in which Trump claims to not know former speaker of the House John Boehner, tweeted about him numerous times in the past. Additionally, Wolff asserts that billionaire Robert Mercer offers Trump $5 million for the campaign, even though that would violate campaign finance laws.
On January 3rd, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted (shown below), + even if some things are inaccurate/flat-out false, there’s enough notionally accurate that people have difficulty knocking it down."
The Gorilla Channel
On January 4th, @pixelatedboat tweeted a parody excerpt from the book, detailing on Trump demanding to watch a fake television network called "The Gorilla Channel." In addition to the excerpt, he tweeted, "Wow, this extract from Wolff’s book is a shocking insight into Trump’s mind." The post (shown below) received more than 15,000 retweets and 50,000 likes in 24 hours.
Some online believed the post to be real. Many claimed that they believed it sounded "plausible" due to some of the other claims made in the book (examples below).
Due to the response to the tweet, @pixelatedboat tweeted, "tfw you parody a guy making up shit about Trump but people believe it so you become part of the problem." The tweet (shown below) received more than 1,300 retweets and 16,000 likes in less than 24 hours. He later changed his Twitter name to "the gorilla channel thing is a joke."
 The Guardian – Trump Tower meeting with Russians 'treasonous', Bannon says in explosive book
 The New York Times – Read Trump’s Reaction to Steve Bannon’s Comments
 Reddit – Steve Bannon just called the Trump Tower meeting treasonous and unpatriotic
 Reddit – Steve Bannon isn’t against treason, just poorly executed treason.
 Twitter – @Team_Mitch's Tweet
 Twitter – @BrentScher's Tweet
 Twitter – @DonaldJTrumpJr's Tweet
f8. ABC News – Trump attorney sends Bannon cease and desist letter over 'disparaging' comments
 CNN – Despite blast by Trump, Bannon reiterates support for President
 New York Magazine – Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President
 New York Times – After Trump Seeks to Block Book, Publisher Hastens Release
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet
 The Washington Post – Michael Wolff’s unbelievable -- sometimes literally -- tell-all about the Trump administration
 Twitter – @maggieNYT's Tweet
 Twitter – @pixelatedboat's Tweet
 Twitter – @pixelatedboat's Tweet
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