Michael Wolff’s latest literary offering, Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House, hits bookstores this week, and looks to be a best-seller. Whether it should make the NYT list in the fiction or non-fiction category will probably depend on one’s political affiliation, but whatever the source of review the book will certainly carry the adjective “controversial” in front of it. Nothing assures a book’s success like controversy, and coming from the pen (keyboard?) of Wolff, whose reputation for historical accuracy will never be confused with that of, say, David McCullough, this work is on pace to sell millions. Which begs a question.
Ever since Donald Trump first appeared in the public eye, descriptions of his behavior have exhausted the list of synonyms for “bad”. He is widely acknowledged to have exaggerated his business acumen, cheated on his wives, stiffed his contractors and suppliers, personally attacked every critic with vitriol and immediacy, bullied other men, verbally and physically harassed women, and pretty much lied about all of it. And that was before he ran for President. Since he has been in office, he has done nothing but double down on these character flaws. He has tried to intimidate the press, bad-mouthed judges, embarrassed and emasculated (sorry, Betsy D and Ms. Chao, Nielsen and Haley) his cabinet, alienated our allies, provoked our enemies – I could go on, but you get the idea.
The question I would pose is: How much more Trump dirt can possibly be found between the covers of Wolff’s exposé than what we have already had sprayed in our faces? Does anyone think that Wolff, from his spot on the White House couch, has managed to gather any tidbits of scandalous gossip that Robert Mueller, with his hundreds of FBI agents and his bottomless subpoena power, has overlooked? Or that anything he can offer his readers about Trump’s vindictiveness and immaturity can equal the revealing content of the President’s own Tweets?
Even if every sentence of Fire and Fury is absolutely true, It is not likely to tell us anything about Donald Trump that we haven’t already figured out. I don’t need to pony up $29.95 to be privy to the knowledge that our President is narcissistic, ignorant, duplicitous, nefarious, cold-blooded, inarticulate, thin-skinned, juvenile, lascivious, add-your-own-badjective-here. Unfortunately I, and pretty much every other citizen of the world, already have that information.
Michael Wolff will likely get rich from this book, wherever Barnes and Noble decides to shelve it. But if Wolff wants to interest me in a tell-all Trump tome it had better reveal an impeachable offense by page 5. Otherwise, no sale. I have seen all the dirt on Trump I can stand.