Michael Wolff has a new Trump tell-all coming out next week called “The Fire and the Fury: Inside the Trump White House”. The book is based on Wolff’s 18-month stint lolling around the White House with permission of Trump himself. This is, in and of itself, extremely bizarre because what President normally lets a reporter wander around with this kind of unfettered access? The story Wolff is telling is synopsized in this Hollywood Reporter article, plus every news outlet in America is basically reading their advanced copies aloud on the air. It is an up-close and personal look at the flaming pile of refuse that’s occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the chaos that follows everywhere he goes.
Make no mistake: Wolff is spilling some hot tea and it is GOOD.
But good and good for you are different. This isn’t a super-healthy green tea with anti-oxidants and shit. This is more like some blended tea beverage with lots of flavor syrup that tastes great going down but makes you feel like a sugar-loaded mess afterwards.
Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth all over these pages. Given the response from the White House – threatening to sue to stop publication – it’s probably as much true as not. But that doesn’t mean this book is going to change even one damn thing about Trump’s tenure as POTUS.
This book, I’m sorry to say, is probably just mind candy for liberals. It’s a hardcover edition of confirmation bias. It’ll feel good to read in the same way Page Six feels good to read. It’s trainwreck literature. But it’s no turning point.
Trump and his base will see this as more evidence that he is a walking martyr. They will truly believe that the “fake news” is persecuting him with these horrible stories when, in fact, Donald J. Trump(TM) is the Last True Patriot and this is just part of the liberal plot to stop him from making America great again. No amount of gossip about him eating in bed or repeating himself in meetings or his sheer lack of knowledge or curiosity will change the minds of entrenched Trump supporters. To paraphrase a smart lady, they’re basically a basket of deplorables and we can’t expect anything better from them.
More over, the tidbits Wolff is dropping about the potential impact of the Mueller investigation make me nervous. For months, I’ve been muttering that Mueller cannot save us (I mostly mutter it on The More Perfect Union Podcast, if you haven’t tuned into that yet. It’s a weekly political discussion podcast I co-host.) While I don’t deny the possibility that Trump and Co are in genuine legal jeopardy from Mueller’s eventual findings, I don’t think that will alter their actions now. We can’t wait for Mueller. We have to be on the ground NOW doing the hard work of issue advocacy, voter outreach for the midterms, and ensuring that we the people have a loud voice in the process of governance.
All of which is to say, I’m probably gonna read and enjoy this book. I like a trainwreck as much as the next person. I just don’t want anyone to forget that entertainment is different than governing. The American electorate forget that in 2016 and look where it got us.