“Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff is still making the rounds. I suspect he will, for as long as the book is a top seller.
Truthfully, that could be Wolff’s only agenda – selling books – in which case, he’s accomplishing his goal. Otherwise, he says he has no agenda, at least, not of a political nature.
Speaking with PBS News, Wolff suggested that what his book has uncovered is a certain sense of anxiety among Trump’s circle.
“I went into this experience just waiting to hear what people would tell me,” he said.
“And what they told me, the people closest to the president, was that things became more alarming by the day, that all of them, in some way or other, were afraid, afraid for their — both for their own careers and for the country.”
That’s not far from some of the early leaks that were coming out of the Trump White House. I think the belief for many from the beginning was that if Trump surrounded himself with enough competent people, they could somehow act as a buffer against Trump’s incompetence, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, while Trump played the wacky TV president in some grotesque, real-time sitcom.
How long can they keep that up?
“They didn’t know what to expect. They woke up in the morning, and they were in, you know, in something of a cold sweat,” he said.
“Almost all of them — for almost all of them, it was a countdown until when they could leave.”
There has been an unusually high rate of turnover in the first year of the Trump presidency. It’s the highest in about 40 years, actually. Some were dismissed, or forced to resign. Others gnawed off their own arm and escaped.
It’s still happening, with Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn both said to be among 2018 departures.
Of course, the White House is pushing back against the book and Wolff’s accounts.
CNN’s Jake Tapper even took Wolff to task for his “questionable” journalistic standards, as Caleb Howe points out here.
At this point, without direct testimony from someone who has left the White House to back up Wolff’s claims, we can’t really know.