By: Christopher Guzman
Although some regard the recent Trump exposé Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, to be an enlightening account of the Trump administration’s first year. There has not been a penetrating account by the media, while this may be reveling to some as it proves their suspicions. The issue with Fire and Fury is that Wolff gets basic information wrong, which cannot be excused. Coupled with the administration’s distrust in the media, does not inspire confidence if not all the information is correct.
Wolff gets the date for John Boehner resignation wrong (Wolff said Boehner resigned in 2011, when it was in 2015). Wolff also misidentifies Washington Post national reporter Mark Berman, with Washington lobbyist, Mike Berman, Wolff wrote, “In that restaurant that morning: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman—Washington Post national reporter Mark Berman.”
Wolff captures some of the more salacious conversations between Trump staff without having an indication of who leaked that information. Wolff validity is particularly put into question with how he managed to attend a dinner between Steve Bannon and Roger Alies post-election especially when both men are unfriendly towards the media. Alies was ousted from Fox News the year before, in regards to sexual harassment allegations. The chapter notes it was arranged by their mutual friends without any regard to Wolff’s status. Without crediting a source how is the reader justify able to the validity of what they are reading?
The entire book is a fly on the wall account of the administration, so any information is implicitly factual. Maybe getting worked up about getting the facts right is a minor issue as Wolf prefaces the book by stating, “Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many in Trumian Fashion, are baldly [sic] untrue.” However there were some accounts that could be enlightening. On election night Trump was already set for failure. “He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities,” wrote Wolff. Trump had already laid out his plans post-election; he was going to build a media empire, but that never happened. Wolff wrote, “The Trump campaign had, perhaps less than inadvertently, replicated the scheme from Mel Brooks’s The Producers.” A comedy film set in 1967, about two Broadway producers trying to make the biggest worst play possible to defraud investors; instead the play becomes a massive success.”
The irony of it all had weighed heavily on the Trump train except for Bannon who reveled in the chaos. Wolff mentions “Bannon, for instance, even driven by his imperative just to get things done, did not use a computer—Process was bunk. Expertise was the last refuge of liberals ever defeated by the big picture—‘Chaos was Steve’s strategy.’”
Even when disregarding the validity of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, it remains a compelling peak within the Trump administration.