The White House may see a mass exodus of staffers in the coming weeks. Axios reports that in the wake of Michael Wolff’s tell-all book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, “[m]ore than half a dozen of the more skilled White House staff are contemplating imminent departures,” and “[m]any leaving are quite fearful about the next chapter of the Trump presidency.”
Wolff’s book, published on Friday, compiles over 200 conversations with members of Trump’s senior staff from the past 18 months that portray Donald Trump’s White House as a sinking ship helmed by a petulant child who doesn’t read and can’t navigate. That’s not exactly a new revelation, but excerpts of the book, published by the Washington Post, New York Magazine, and elsewhere, contain salacious anecdotes like Ivanka Trump mocking her father’s hair behind his back, former chief strategist Steve Bannon describing Donald Trump, Jr.’s alleged meeting with Russian officials as “treasonous,” and claiming that Trump didn’t want to win the election.
While the book is wreaking havoc on Trump and his staff, it’s not clear how much of it is true or vetted. Wolff, a writer whose schtick as an unreliable narrator makes him an irresponsible journalist, admits up in the introduction that his reporting lacks integrity. “Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue,” he writes. Axios attempted to parse out some of the fact from fiction, writing, that parts of Fire and Fury “are wrong, sloppy, or betray off-the-record confidence.”
But the one thing Wolff “gets absolutely right,” in Axios’s opinion, is the low morale of White House staff, who all seem to recognize that Trump is a man baby. “In the past year, we have had many of the same conversations with the same sources Wolff used,” wrote Axios founders Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei. Without revealing their sources, they published a series of quotes that “ring unambiguously true,” including:
- “[H]e trusted his own expertise — no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. What’s more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of attention.”
- “Trump didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. ... [H]e could read headlines and articles about himself, or at least headlines on articles about himself, and the gossip squibs on the New York Post’s Page Six.”
- “At points on the day’s spectrum of adverse political developments, he could have moments of, almost everyone would admit, irrationality. When that happened, he was alone in his anger and not approachable by anyone.”
Of course, none of this is really news to us, but the comments confirm that even the most complicit White House staffers see what the rest of us see.