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In a new interview, The Hollywood Reporter columnist and author Michael Wolff says his explosive book on President Donald Trump’s rise to the Oval Office and first year in the White House is helping readers to reach an understanding that “will end this presidency.”
In an interview with the BBC radio released Saturday, the author says that some of the most interesting reactions so far to his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House have been “a very clear emperor-has-no-clothes effect.”
“The story that I’ve told seems to present this presidency in such a way that it says that he can’t do this job, the emperor has no clothes. And suddenly everywhere people are going, ‘Oh, my God, it’s true — he has no clothes.’ That’s the background to the perception and the understanding that will finally end this, that will end this presidency,” Wolff said.
Since the release of excerpts in New York Magazine (and a column about it in THR), Trump has attacked the book and its veracity. In a tweet on Thursday, the president called the book “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” Trump also said that he had not provided Wolff with access to the White House for the book.
On Thursday, Trump’s attorney Charles Harder also sent an 11-page legal demand to Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt & Co., alleging that the book committed defamation, false-light invasion of privacy and an inducement of breach of Steve Bannon’s contract with the Trump campaign. The pressure induced Henry Holt & Co. to move up its release date to Jan. 5 from Jan. 9.
BBC Radio host Nick Robinson pressed Wolff on his reporting methods, to which he responded that he had written the book in the “time-honored fashion” of talking to sources close to the events in the White House and often granting them anonymity. Wolff added that he was able to take up residence in the West Wing because he knew Trump — on whom he had written a THR cover story during the 2016 campaign — and Bannon and that he had gotten the president to “shrug his shoulders and [say] ‘Okay, yeah'” to granting him access to the White House.
In an interview with THR published Saturday, Wolff said that he had strived to make his reporting apolitical. “I have no side here,” he said. “I’m just interested in how people relate to one another, their ability to do their jobs and a much less abstract picture of this world than whatever the political thesis may or may not be.”
For BBC radio, Wolff elaborated that his observations simply channeled the feelings of those around him when he was in the White House. “This is the story that I watched, this transformation that took place amongst this senior staff. … These are ambitious people, well-intentioned people, and wanted to succeed in the job,” he said. “They all came to the conclusion … that something was unbelievably amiss here.”
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