‘White House expose has got under Donald Trump’s skin’
US president Donald Trump may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, according to the author of an incendiary book about him, Fire & Fury.
According to journalist Michael Wolff, the book has “gotten under the skin” of Mr Trump, who sees it as a mortal threat to his term in the White House.
“Rather than proving that he is a stable genius, it rather looks like he might be cracking up,” Mr Wolff told Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1.
However, he added: “I can’t get rid of the president for people.”
Mr Wolff said he has dozens of hours of tape recordings and notes from interviews with senior White House officials, making it harder for them to deny embarrassing or revealing quotes attributed to them.
Although Mr Wolff promised to protect the anonymity of those who gave him interviews off the record, he is keeping his options open. He said he has tapes with people who he has “absolutely sworn to protect”, so he doesn’t know if he’ll release some of the tapes, but is thinking about it.
“I do have tapes of many, many people, so why not release them?” he said.
Among the sources he taped is Steve Bannon, who served as White House chief strategist during the first seven months of Mr Trump’s term. Mr Wolff also spent many hours in private areas of the West Wing, including the office of Reince Priebus, when he was chief of staff.
Mr Wolff approached Mr Bannon about writing a book, but says that Mr Bannon thought he was applying for a job. When Mr Bannon understood, Mr Wolff said Mr Bannon sort of shrugged his shoulders, as if to say “knock yourself out”.
“He certainly didn’t object when I showed up at the White House and started making appointments with senior staff,” said Mr Wolff. “Steve had come to think of the president as quite an idiot.”
Mr Bannon this week left his role as executive chairman of Breitbart News after remarks he had made, about Mr Trump’s children appeared in the book. Among other comments, which he later apologised for, Mr Bannon had suggested a meeting involving Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer had been “treasonous”.
Mr Bannon has since said that he was not referring to Mr Trump’s son, but Mr Wolff insisted that he did not misrepresent him.
“Absolutely, without question, not,” he said. “I am fond of Steve and respects his insights, depended on them in many instances. This has put him in a difficult position. He did not deny anything he told me.”
Mr Wolff said his view of the White House was of “everyone coming to the conclusion that Donald Trump did not have the facility to function in this job”. He also witnessed a paralysed and chaotic administration.
“The chaos prevents him from doing anything much, because he can’t get out of his own way,” he said. “He’s done much less wrong than we might have thought, because he can’t get out of his own way. He probably didn’t plan on doing very much.”
Mr Wolff said he felt that, as an outsider, political reporters were resentful toward him for having published the book.
Michael Wolff says he has hours of White House interviews.