President Trump excoriated the tell-all book about his first year in the White House, one which has created a sudden rift between him and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, one hour before it went on sale.
The president claimed in an explosive tweet Thursday night that he never allowed Michael Wolff, author of the "phony" book, any access to the White House, and also took a swipe at Bannon, calling him "Sloppy Steve." Excerpts from Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," were released earlier this week quoting Bannon making unfavorable comments about Trump and his family.
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
Trump's assertion that Wolff did not have access to the White House echoed statements made earlier in the day by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
"In fact, there are probably more than 30 requests for access to information from Michael Wolff that were repeatedly denied, including, within that, at least two dozen requests of him asking to have an interview with the President, which he never did," Sanders told reporters Thursday. "He never discussed this book with the president. And to me, that would be the most important voice that you could have if you were looking to write a book about an individual, would be to have some time with him. He never did. He was repeatedly denied that. I think because we saw him for what he was, and there was no reason for us to waste the president of the United States' time."
However, one day prior, Sanders did concede Trump and Wolff spoke on the phone once after Trump became president, but denied it had anything to do with Wolff's book.
"There was one brief conversation that had nothing to do, originally, with the book," Sanders said Wednesday. "It was, I think, around five to seven minutes in total since the president has taken office. And that's the only interaction that he's had."
"Fire and Fury" had been scheduled for release next week, but its publisher, Henry Holt and Co., announced Thursday that the release date was moved to Friday. That, despite an attempt by Trump’s lawyers to block its publication.
“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,” a spokeswoman for the publishing company told the Washington Examiner.
While the statement said 9 a.m., Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Washington, D.C., open until 1 a.m., announced that the book will go on sale there at midnight.
Kramerbooks tells me they will stay open until 1am tonight, with the Michael Wolff book for sale at midnight. Only in DC— Elliot Carter (@ElliotCarter10) January 5, 2018
Though the White House claims Wolff did not have permission to access the White House, a report from Axios on Thursday said Wolff obtained hours-worth of access in private sections of the West Wing, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus' office, and also that he has tapes of his talks with White House officials. Separately, it was revealed Wolff conducted more than 200 interviews over a period of 18 months.
Among the salacious comments made by Bannon in the book, some of which occurred during Bannon's time in the White House, was a swipe at Trump's oldest child, Donald Trump Jr.
Bannon said the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials, Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer was "treasonous." The meeting has been a subject of interest for investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and possible collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin.
Trump returned fire, calling Bannon a "staffer" who "lost his mind."
"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," Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. "Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party."
Trump’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon late Wednesday, insisting he stop making derogatory comments about Trump and his family.