There Is So Much Wrong in Michael Wolff's Book That It's Totally True

You probably do need to puff yourself up at the expense of others so they ignore the Mercer branded collar and dog leash

There is so much wrong in Michael Wolff's book. It is false that White House aide Stephen Miller knew nothing about immigration and was not sharp on public policy. Miller is actually deeply into public policy and the weeds on policy. One need not know him well to figure that out. But Wolff's book suggests he knew little and had to google how to draft an executive order at Steve Bannon's behest.

It is also totally not true that Donald Trump did not know who John Boehner was. They had played golf together repeatedly and had meetings together repeatedly before the election. Wolff writes that Donald Trump told Roger Ailes that Trump did not know who John Boehner was.

There are lots of anecdotes like these in the book. They are small stories that are absolutely and provably false. Others are absolutely true and have other witnesses to them. Wolff himself has a history of embellishment and writing with gusto in a sensationalized style. Who knows what is actually true in the book. He even says he let multiple people describe events to him and they given completely contradictory accounts. But that's the point.

Most of what Wolff writes in this book comes from recorded conversations with people, particularly Steve Bannon. Miller may be a policy wonk, but Bannon wanted him thought of as an idiot. The President could be freaking Leonardo Da Vinci, but Bannon wanted him thought of as an idiot. Ivanka Trump? Idiot. Jared Kushner? Idiot. Donald Trump, Jr.? Idiot. Sean Spicer? Idiot.

And those who were not portrayed as idiots were portrayed in other unflattering ways. Roger Ailes? Old guard, outmoded, and time to move on. Rupert Murdoch? Old guard, outmoded, and time to move on. Reince Priebus? Overwhelmed. On and on it goes.

This is the truth of this book. The White House was a chaotic place to work, and "Sloppy Steve " presided over it all. The embellishments and lies appear not to be primarily Michael Wolff's but Steve Bannon's. Bannon seemingly wants to portray a world where he is puppet master, and we are all puppets living in his world. He wants to be the Machiavelli he is not. He cannot work with the quiet conviction of being right. He must make sure we all know he is right and he is power.

Which means he is not.

Truth be told, when you are that dependent on other people, not the company you work for, but other people, for even your own private security , you probably do need to bring in someone to be your stenographer against others. You probably do need to puff yourself up at the expense of others so they ignore the Mercer branded collar and dog leash and ignore President Trump is walking you and all you really get to do is pee on fire hydrants.

That's the real truth of Michael Wolff's book. It paints a picture of those around the President as unflattering and back biting. Some, more than Bannon, aid in this with their own quotes. But a lot of it is Steve Bannon revealing himself by puffing himself up and badly treating others.

But there's another truth to Michael Wolff's book. It turns out there is no master plan. There is no grand strategy. The daily chaos is not a distraction from the main event so they can sneak things through. It is the main event and the things that get through are exceptions, not rules. That then must leave us with a very disturbing truth about the Trump Administration. As conservatives applaud a number of conservative measures that have advanced and some solid judicial picks, we still ultimately have a man-child for President who eats cheeseburgers in bed while yelling at the TV between tweets and, while claiming to hire only the best men, hired "Sloppy Steve ", Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and more.

We have an administration that can handle the basics, if barely, in normal times. But an administration needs a leader during crisis and our republic chose a man who has never been called to lead in a crisis and does not seem capable of doing it. Bannon, we can gather, assumed for himself a mantle of leadership voters did not give him, and now he is out in the cold. Should something wicked this way come, we will meet a crisis of leadership we have never had as a nation and it will not be pretty.

Comments
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mlindroos
mlindroos

I think Erick nails it ... as Gabriel Sherman just pointed out, Wolfe is essentially the Trump of journalism as he is sloppy with the facts, relies on unethical/dishonest practices and will write/tweet whatever it takes to "win."

As Salena Zito might put it, we should take Wolfe's book "seriously but not literally". Normal political reporting does not apply to the Trump administration, where Trump holds court like an absolute monarch and various lackeys attend to his wishes while actually executing his policies. Thus, the best way of covering the Trump presidency is by disseminating the off-the-record rumors leaked by the various factions which are de facto responsible for getting things done.

AmericanPatriot
AmericanPatriot

Eric, my goodness quit hyperventilating. I am comfortable with Trump in the drivers seat if a crisis erupts. He has surrounded himself with many generals with great experience and he listens to their advice. In 2017 we hand several natural disasters the he handled just fine. I suppose you would rather have a GW Bush and a Katrina. He lets the military do what they have been trained to do and not micro manage like Obama. GW Bush had a crisis in 2001 and started a war in Iraq that proved to be unnecessary, but your ok with his leadership. And we are still fighting in Afghanistan 17 years later, what wonderful leadership GW and Obama provided. GW and Obama caused the spread of ISIS, and Trump’s actions have them on the run. How about Clinton, who had that wag-the-dog action in Somalia to divert attention from the Lewinski scandal. True leadership there. GHW Bush showed leadership up until, READ MY LIPS.

Maybe you prefer Reagan’s decision to put soldiers in a barracks in Lebanon and over 200 be killed in in attack. Or maybe you prefer the Iran Contra deal. No, you are from the south you prefer Jimmy Carter’s pacifist attitude with Iran that held hostages until Reagan took office.

Sounds to me that you really would be a supporter of LBJ’s war on poverty, that has not worked, or his escalating the war in Vietnam. Maybe you prefer Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs, or Cuban missile crisis.

Well I made it to Eisenhower, a true leader of men a nations.

You may not like Trump’s style and personality but I know he has shown that he wants to do what is best for American and we have not seen that for over 30 years.

thewordgirl
thewordgirl

I agree with everything you said, Erick. How I wish Trump would just stay moving along in a positive momentum of accomplishments and rise above the drama (and petty tweeting). That alone would improve his image greatly, even though it's obvious that some folks find this side of him totally endearing. But so far, the "drained swamp" seems to consist only of his own entourage of close friends and allies. I wonder if his family is starting to get nervous about how he's looking at them! I just take heart in believing the Lord did put him there to put all the pieces in place for His own brand of last-days chaos. Because of knowing that He is in control, I'm good with it. (For extra clarification for Trumpeters, by "His" and "He", I mean God.)

MarkBerwind
MarkBerwind

I just don't understand why making a work of pure fiction into something of substance, to confirm the never trump attitude, is a recurring theme. The author of the book wrote a kiss and tell about the supposed inner workings of the Trump White House. Does that make anything in the book factual? Does it really matter whether or not anything in the book is factual? No. I doubt I'll ever pick up that book, much less, read it, and I don't care anything about the author, or the palace intrigue. All I care about is the direction Trump is leading the country, and for that, I'm satisfied. For all the attention whores and drama queens, this may just be the book for you, if you want to throw some money away. Me? I need to replace a water heater.

BossHoss
BossHoss

Erick, don't know where this first part went to... I wish you and your family God's Grace thru your current trials. His Grace is Sufficient, but it never feels that way when you're in the thick of it. I know... 1 Peter 1: 6-7 "It's gonna be rough down here for a while" Thanx for what you do.

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