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On his last week of vacation until the next one, President Trump gave gifts to the usual suspects: the conspiracy theorists, the Iranians, the members of Mar-a-Lago, the people eagerly awaiting justice for Clinton’s email scandal, and Jeff Sessions. What he didn't anticipate, however, was that someone had a gift for him: Michael Wolff, who published a new book this week chock-full of humiliating anecdotes about Trump's first year in office.
There's no time like the present, so let's recap Trump's week of gifts:
A gift for the East Coast Day 343 — December 29
The president doesn’t seem to know the difference between climate and weather. He spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s golfing in Florida after tweeting that the East Coast could use “a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.”
A gift for Iran Day 344 — December 30
Trump gave everyone a belated Christmas gift: an explanation of why he tweets so much. It’s not because he likes it — it’s just the only way he can “fight a VERY dishonest and unfair “press,” now often referred to as Fake News Media,” the president tweeted.
The president also continued his tweets about the days of protests in Iran over concerns about government’s corruption and rising costs of necessities like bread and gas. The death toll, which included both demonstrators and police, would soon rise above 20.
“Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!” Trump tweeted, along with a video of himself speaking on the matter.
The U.S.’ harsh rhetoric has driven a wedge between the nation and European powers, like the U.K., France, and Germany, which support Iranians’ right to protest but in a more measured tone.
A gift for the haters Day 345 — December 31
He also extended warm wishes and a “Happy and Healthy New Year” to all of his “friends, supporters, enemies, haters, and even the very dishonest Fake News Media.”
Before his fancy party, Trump lashed out at Iran’s leaders in a few tweets after they imposed even tighter restrictions on its already heavily censored internet in an attempt to disrupt the on protests.
“Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate,” he tweeted. “Not good!”
A gift for Pakistan Day 346 — January 1
Trump headed back to D.C., but he fit in some time to expand upon his Iran criticisms. This time, Trump criticized the Obama-brokered Iran nuclear deal. “TIME FOR CHANGE!” the president tweeted.
Trump also took aim at past administrations’ relationship with Pakistan. He asserted that the U.S. has given the country too much aid money while it only gives “lies and deceit” in return.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help,” Trump tweeted. “No more!”
A big button gift Day 347 — January 2
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicked off her year with the press having to insist that no, the president doesn’t actually believe the Department of Justice is part of a “deep state” conspiracy.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others,” the president had tweeted.
Days earlier, the DOJ released a trove of emails from Abedin as part of a high-profile Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. While many of the emails — which were found on her husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop — were marked classified and redacted, Abedin had forwarded government passwords to her Yahoo email, according to the Daily Caller’s analysis.
Still, the emails revealed nothing to contradict the FBI’s assessment that Clinton’s use of a private email server wasn’t criminal.
But Trump was only warming up. In another tweet a minute later, he threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation by bragging about the size of his “button,” which doesn’t even exist. Apparently, his holiday of golfing wasn’t as relaxing as everyone would have hoped.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump tweeted, just hours into an unexpected diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea for the new year.
National security experts and Democrats widely condemned the tweet, while Republicans wouldn't really talk about it. The president, however, capped off the day on a high note: He promised his followers, once again, that he “will build the desperately needed WALL!” in a final tweet.
A gift for the public Day 348 — January 3
Leaked excerpts of journalist Michael Wolff’s new gossipy tell-all, “Fire and Fury,” from inside the White House kicked off an epic round of political backstabbing.
To start, Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon called the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russian operatives and Trump campaign officials, including Don Jr., “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
Bannon also offered his candid predictions on where the Russia investigation will lead. “They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV,” Bannon told Wolff.
Trump wasted no time issuing an official response: that Bannon is nuts.
“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. “Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
Other shocking facts that have trickled out from the book describe a White House gripped by chaos, where much of staff believes the president shouldn’t, in fact, be president. According to various excerpts from “Fire and Fury”:
As soon as Trump realized he would win the election, he looked like he “had seen a ghost,” Donald Trump Jr. told a friend. And Melania started crying.
Longtime Trump staffer Sam Nunberg called the president a “fucking fool” when trying to explain their new boss to West Wingers.
Thomas Barrack Jr., a billionaire and close friend of the president, said of Trump: “He’s not only crazy, he’s stupid.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron” (which was already reported) and also that Trump had “lost his mind.”
Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn called the president “dumb as shit.”
H.R. McMaster said Trump was “a hopeless idiot.”
Despite the sting of being called names, Trump found the wherewithal to pass a new policy — or rather, get rid of one. While he still believes rampant voter fraud cost him the Electoral College, he dismantled the commission he’d set up last spring, as it was plagued by a lack of evidence.
A gift for Jeff Sessions Day 349 — January 4
In two hours of broadcasting Breitbart’s new radio news show, Bannon had only one thing to say about Trump: that he’s a “great man.” “You know I support him day in and day out,” Bannon continued, responding to a listener question.
Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers were drafting two cease-and-desist letters within 12 hours — one to Bannon for breaking his nondisclosure agreement and the other to the book’s publisher, Henry Holt and Co., and Wolff. The publisher responded by moving up the sale date as soon as humanly possible, to the next day at 9 a.m.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also busy trying to stop the sale of something: legal weed. He kicked off his war on marijuana by allowing U.S. attorneys to prosecute marijuana cases at their own discretion, against a previous Obama-era policy that said federal resources could only be used to target serious violations of law.
While the Trump administration has vehemently tried to protect the young and innocent from the “dangers” of pot, officials don’t seem to care too much about protecting waters. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the administration planned to allow oil companies to drill in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, including areas that have been protected from drilling for decades.