President Donald Trump didn’t want to win 2016’s election, got angry over celebrity snubs at his inauguration and eats fast food partially because of his fear of being poisoned, according to a book about his administration set to be released next week.
The claims are among a slew of allegations made in journalist Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." Cobbled together from 18 months' worth of conversations with Trump and senior staff members and more than 200 interviews, the book was set to hit shelves Jan. 9. However, publisher Henry Hold & Company moved the release date up to Friday "due to unprecedented demand," according to CNN.
“Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats of ‘Fire and Fury,’ by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5, at 9 a.m. ET, from the current on-sale date of Tuesday, January 9.”— Carol Costello (@CarolHLN) January 4, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday denied allegations made in the book, calling it a “complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip.”
"I'm not going to waste my time, or the country's time, going page by page talking about a book that's complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip." - Sarah Sanders https://t.co/NLx1Rc0rZ8 pic.twitter.com/CWMyBj9xrt— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) January 4, 2018
Here are some of the most stunning claims taken from excerpts of the book that have been released:
Trump didn’t want, or expect, to win the presidential election
Wolff wrote that Trump never set out to win 2016's presidential election, according to an excerpt published by New York magazine. Instead, he aimed to bolster his brand.
“Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary,” Wolff wrote. “His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared (Kushner) would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.”
Flynn knew he would have problems with Russia ties
Trump’s win was so unexpected that he and members of his team never bothered to deal with potential conflicts of interest, according to Wolff. Among those who knew they could face problems if Trump won the election was former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
>> Related: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Russia probe
“Flynn… had been told by his friends that it had not been a good idea to take $45,000 from the Russians for a speech,” Wolff wrote. “’Well, it would only be a problem if we won,’ Flynn assured them.”
Flynn was forced to resign less than a month into his tenure after reports surfaced that he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador the U.S. He pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the president or his campaign team.
Trump likes to eat fast food because he’s afraid of being poisoned
According to Wolff, one of the reasons the president likes to eat at McDonald’s is because of his longtime fear of being poisoned.
"Nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade," Wolff wrote, according to an excerpt obtained by CNBC.
Trump was angry at his inauguration
In an excerpt published by New York magazine, Wolff wrote:
“Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. He was angry that A-level stars had snubbed the event, disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House, and visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears. Throughout the day, he wore what some around him had taken to calling his golf face: angry and pissed off, shoulders hunched, arms swinging, brow furled, lips pursed.”
Rupert Murdoch called Trump an ‘idiot’
The president is a fan of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, but Wolff wrote that the feeling is not mutual.
Donald Trump called Murdoch after a December 2016 meeting with executives representing tech giants including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google's parent company, Alphabet, an excerpt published by New York magazine. Among other topics, the group discussed H-1B visas, the visa used by employers to bring foreign talent into the country.
Trump told Murdoch that, “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favorable to them, too much regulation.”
Murdoch told Trump that he was mistaken and that the companies “had (former President Barack) Obama in their pocket” during his tenure. Still, Trump insisted that the companies “really need these H-1B visas.”
According to Wolff, “Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America's doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, 'We'll figure it out,'
“'What a (expletive) idiot,' said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone."
Trump couldn’t get through a lesson on the Constitution
Trump’s associates were well aware of the president’s “wide-ranging ignorance,” Wolff wrote, and that extended into the president’s knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.
“Early in the campaign, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate. ‘I got as far as the Fourth Amendment,’ Nunberg recalled, ‘before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.’”
Trump didn’t know who John Boehner was
Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who died last year, told Trump that he needed to fill his chief of staff position with someone well-acquainted with Washington. To that end he suggested Trump choose former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who stepped down from his position in 2015.
The president had only one question, according to Wolff: “Who’s that?”
Contrary to Wolff's reporting, Trump has tweeted several times about Boehner in the past and has been golfing with him, according to Politico.
Speaker John Boehner, who I like, should never have agreed to raise taxes because the Republicans got absolutely nothing for it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2013
Trump called Sally Yates the c-word
Trump vehemently disliked former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, according to Wolff. In an excerpt obtained by MSNBC, Wolff said that "Trump conceived an early, obsessive antipathy for Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
“She was, he steamed, ‘such a (expletive).’”
The president fired Yates last year when she declined to defend a travel ban that targeted people coming to the U.S. from a handful of Muslim-majority countries in the weeks after his inauguration.
Ivanka Trump set her sights on becoming America’s first female president
Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, took jobs with the Trump administration against the advice of “almost everyone they knew” with their sights set on a possible future run for the White House, according to an excerpt obtained by BBC News.
The couple agreed that if an opportunity presented itself in the future, Ivanka Trump would run for president.
According to Wolff, “Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she'd be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.”
Bannon thought 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Russian lawyer was ‘treasonous’
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Wolff he thought a meeting set up by the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others in June 2016 was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic," according to The Guardian.
The younger Trump agreed to take the meeting after being promised in a series of emails between himself and music publicist Rob Goldstone for "information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russia."
>> Related: Donald Trump Jr. releases email exchange with Russian intermediary
Wolff wrote that shortly after the meeting, which was also attended by Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, Bannon criticized the younger Trump for his failure to bring the information to the FBI.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Wolff quoted Bannon as saying in an excerpt obtained by The Guardian. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad (expletive), and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
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