The White House is doing everything to ensure the smashing success of New York journalist Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," a deeply unflattering examination of the president’s first year in office.
It’s funny, because Wolff’s book is just page after page of humiliating anecdotes about the president and his reportedly deeply, shamefully incompetent White House staff and family.
To sum up the main message of “Fire and Fury”: Trump, who is an idiot, never expected to win the White House. His campaign was all about self-promotion. Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss last November surprised Trump more than anyone, leaving him 100 percent unprepared to take on the duties of the presidency. Everyone hates each other in the White House, and everyone is stabbing the person next to him in the back. The one thing that anyone in the White House appears to agree on, according to Wolff, is that Trump is a grossly incompetent jackass.
Some parts of Wolff’s book appear to be true (he claims he has tapes to back up his on-the-record and background interviews. Other parts don't seem to pass the smell test. Wolff himself has been an unreliable narrator in the past. No matter. This doesn’t change the fact that this entire ordeal is deeply embarrassing for the White House, especially since the book is the product of the White House granting Wolff an impressive amount of access (did no one think to vet him before welcoming him?).
The smartest thing the White House could have done in response to this embarrassment was keep quiet. The administration should’ve refrained from commenting at all. No need to give oxygen to this fire. Naturally, the Trump White House did the exact opposite of "no comment." They saw a gasoline fire and thought they could put it out with water. The president and his minions have tripped over themselves to denounce certain parts of Wolff's book as “fake news,” gifting the reporter an enormous amount of free press in the process.
Calling attention to the book with multiple, angry denunciations alone guarantees its great success. But Trump, of course, one-upped everyone by having his attorneys send Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt and Co., a cease and desist letter Thursday morning.
“We are investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements that you have made about Mr. Trump,” Trump’s lawyer wrote.
It added, “Actual malice (reckless disregard for the truth) can be proven by the fact that the Book admits in the Introduction that it contains untrue statements. Moreover, the Book appears to cite to no sources for many of its most damaging statements about Mr. Trump. Also, many of your so-called ‘sources’ have stated publicly that they never spoke to Mr. Wolff and/or never made the statements that are being attributed to them.”
The president's attorney added, “Other alleged ‘sources’ of statements about Mr. Trump are believed to have no personal knowledge of the facts upon which they are making statements or are known to be unreliable and/or strongly biased against Mr. Trump.”
Wolff's publisher, naturally, moved up the book's release to Friday, four days early, to capitalize on the attention.
Great job, you White House geniuses. You took a book that was of interest primarily to media and political circles and made it into a national issue. The cease and desist letter is going to boost awareness and interest in this book like no advertising campaign ever could.
Congratulations on handing Wolff what may very well be the best-selling book of 2018. After all, who doesn’t want to read the juicy tell-all that the president himself tried to bury?
Wolff and his publishers owe Trump a thank-you note. Maybe a gift card.