There’s only one word to describe the best-selling book Fire and Fury, Inside The Trump White House by Michael Wolff. Disturbing. Very, very disturbing. The title refers to Donald Trump’s threats of raining ‘fire and fury the likes of which no one has ever seen’ on North Korea if they continue to launch nuclear missiles. Bill Maher called the exposé about Donald Trump’s White House administration a ‘fun read’. Trump supporters will call it an unfair representation. Whatever your position, it’s not fun and it’s scarier than anything by Stephen King. And I’m not even an American. Wolff was able to get unfettered ‘fly-on-the-wall’ access to the inner workings of white house life by presenting himself as a sympathetic documentarian of the transition during the first one hundred days of the Trump administration. That approach assuaged the emperor’s ego and got Wolff the access he needed.
How did the American people let this train wreck happen? Reading Fire and Fury is like opening a large bag of Ruffles potato chips. You take a bite then you can’t stop gorging, even though it makes you feel gassy, ill and disgusted with yourself. In fact, after I was a few dozen pages into the book I wasn’t even sure I would be able to finish. I was horrified and appalled at what I was reading and wasn’t sure I would have the stamina to soldier on. But once you open the bag it’s hard to stop.
My overriding impression as I read the book is that Trump likes being the emperor but has neither the aptitude nor the inclination to do the work involved. His number one preoccupation is his media presence—not immigration, not health care or jobs, not foreign policy and certainly not the American people, despite his rhetoric. I would have liked to see more about Melania but according to her husband, she’s just a ‘trophy wife’, arm candy and they lead fairly separate lives. His ‘office wives’ are another matter. And they’re what Ivanka Trump misinterprets as his positive views on feminism. Even though Ivanka, Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks and others play a large role in his day-to-day life, they’re supporters, nurturers, hand-holders. As soon as I finished the book, I came across an excellent piece by Jill Filipovic in the New York Times that perfectly describes this dynamic. “As women who work know, egalitarianism is not always the norm, and many of us have found ourselves serving as the caretaking ‘work wife’ to the emotionally needier male co-worker or superior.” And this boss prefers his work wives in skirts and high heels.
I also learned that son-in-law Jared Kushner and his family are long-time Democrats and Kushner’s brother owns an insurance company that benefits from Obamacare. Like Maria Shriver, Kushner had to bite the bullet on that one. The game of musical chairs for senior positions in the Trump white house has created an atmosphere of instability and chaos. No one knows who does what or for how long so everyone is kept busy protecting their turf. It was Steve Bannon versus Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump versus a cast of has-beens and wannabe’s. When Gary Cohn, former President of Goldman Sachs came on board to contribute his management skills as Chief Economic Advisor, he did not mince words: “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. . . I am in a constant state of shock and horror.”
There are just too many juicy bits to begin to relate here. I urge you to read Michael Wolff’s excellent book and draw your own conclusions. I binged and now I don’t feel well. In fact, I feel bloated, helpless and defeated. I worry about how the American people will pay for the inevitable health care they’re going to need when they try to digest and live with this smorgasbord of unsavory heart-stoppers. How is it all going to end?