‘Fire & Fury’ signifies nothing

by John English

I’ve read excerpts of Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury, and I’ve seen the reactions from a bunch of people.

My impression of it boils down to this. I feel like I could spend a year looking at what happened in the news each day, then pretend I was on a White House couch at the time, and I could write something very similar to what he wrote.

I could reinvent conversations, share what people’s thought bubbles were and the like. Wolff is known for recreating events in this manner.

Fire & Fury reaffirms what most of us can tell from afar, that Trump’s spoiled, immature, irrational and unstable, prone to multiple lies a day. Staffers do what they can to manage him but they’re constantly afraid he’s going to sabotage them by tweeting something stupid. Indeed most reporters have said they heard most of these things from staffers off the record all year.

But the book has several inaccuracies. He listed the wrong Cabinet position for Wilbur Ross. He attributed a quote to Ivanka Trump that Mika Brzezinski said was actually hers. Plenty of people have come forward and said Wolff made stuff up. He says he has hours of tapes to prove he didn’t. That’s fine.

Every book about White House intrigue will prompt staffers to come forward and say this or that little thing isn’t true. This book is riddled with errors. Wolff makes Mark Halperin look like David McCullough.

Let’s say 80% of the book is true. That’s way too much it got wrong and makes it easier to dismiss the whole thing. The book doesn’t add much to the conversation, because as the Gorilla Channel parody that fooled so many people proved, people are going to believe what they want to believe. I do think Trump’s unstable, unpresidential, etc.,etc. But I knew that before the book, and I don’t see this book changing many minds. Trump’s got his 37% base, and they’re not going anywhere. They’re not growing either.

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