FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 08, 2018
Thousands of Americans are reading ‘Fire and Fury,’ a book the president didn’t want us to see
Share a quote from news coverage of the book or an opinion column about it.
Look for a local comment from a reader, critic or bookseller. What’s your reaction? (Letters to the editor are OK to use.)
Now read any other article about the president and summarize a few key points.
A provocative book about Donald Trump's first year as president is the focus of national conversations and wide news coverage. The buzz started in the middle of last week with published excerpts from "Fire and Fury / Inside the Trump White House" by New York journalist Michael Wolff, who was allowed on-site access to senior staff members for several months. He describes chaos, confusion and a president many aides consider unfit. After lawyers for the president warned the publisher and author they could be sued if the book came out, the 336-page volume went on sale Friday instead of this week. (No lawsuit is filed.)
Trump dismisses the book as "full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist." A former deputy assistant to the president, Sebastian Gorka, calls the author "a hack" and says on Fox News: "The president is a vacuum cleaner of information. . . . The people who will buy into this book are the people who hate the president already." The author defends his work: "I have recordings, I have notes. I am certainly, absolutely, in every way, comfortable with everything I've reported in this book."
Key sources include Steve Bannon, a senior presidential adviser fired last August, who’s sharply critical of his former boss. Wolff describes a disorganized White House torn by infighting. Trump is depicted as having a volatile temper, being obsessed with media coverage of himself and being unable to digest written briefings. Wolff claims that every White House source he talked to believes Trump is "incapable of functioning in his job." The writer adds: "This man does not read, does not listen. So he's like a pinball just shooting off the sides. . . . He has a need for immediate gratification; it's all about him."
The book "is so tightly packed with tales of political convulsion and personal betrayal that official Washington will be buzzing off its sugar high for weeks," comments MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, a Republican congressman from Florida from 1995-2001. Brian Stelter, who hosts a weekly CNN discussion about the media, says: "The book suggests that President Trump is unstable and raises alarms about his fitness for office." At The Atlantic magazine, veteran columnist and author James Fallows comments: "The details . . . make [the book] unforgettable, and potentially historic. . . . It's a remarkable tale."
President says: "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind." – Jan 3 statement
Author says: "Not only is he [Trump] helping me sell books, but he's proving the point of the book." – Michael Wolff
Columnist says: "We have heard these claims about presidents before — but usually from the opposition, not from the White House itself, let alone unanimously." – Andrew Sullivan, New York magazine
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