Michael Wolff, author of an explosive book about the president, said White House staffers view Donald Trump “like a child” during a blistering interview Friday on NBC’s "Today" show.
Countering the president's claim Thursday that the book is fiction, Wolff, a veteran journalist who's written several books about high-profile people, asserted he is “absolutely in every way comfortable with everything reported." The tell-all is reportedly based on 200 interviews over the course of 18 months, during the campaign and in the first several months of Trump's time in the White House.
“Fire and Fury” went on sale Friday morning, the release date pushed forward several days by publisher Henry Holt due to unprecedented demand — likely created by Trump’s legal attempt to stop publication.
Here are nine moments from the interview that will make Trump seethe:
On credibility — The author didn’t hold back, saying Trump has “less credibility than perhaps anybody who has ever walked on Earth at this point.”
On Trump — Wolff said everyone in the White House views Trump as a child. “What they mean by that is he has the need for instant gratification. It's all about him.”
On reading — The author confirmed rumors that Trump is not a man of books. "This man does not read. Does not listen. He's like a pinball, just shooting off the sides.”
On Trump’s capabilities — Echoing his column in the Hollywood Reporter Thursday, Wolff said certain members of Trump’s staff eventually came to the conclusion that “he cannot do this job.”
On Javanka — Speaking about Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, working in the West Wing, Wolff called it “a deep legal quagmire.”
On his process — Addressing past criticism for a lack of reporting rigor, Wolff said: “I work like every journalist works: I have recordings. I have notes. I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with what I have reported.”
On marketing — Wolff said the reaction from the White House, and Trump in particular, is helping raise the profile of the book and sell more copies. “Not only is he helping me sell books, but he’s proving the point of the book.”
On Trump’s denial — Trump tweeted Thursday he had never spoken to Wolff and had “authorized zero access,” adding the the book was “full of lies, misrepresentations, and sources that don’t exist.” Wolff countered: “I absolutely spoke to the president... it certainly was not off the record. My window into Donald Trump was pretty significant.”
On getting access — It remains unclear just what kind of official access Wolff was given, but he appears to have become a permanent fixture in the West Wing for much of the first year. “I certainly said whatever necessary to get the story,” he said about his tactics.