Michael Wolff, the journalist whose Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was among the earliest tomes to expose the chaos of the former guy’s shambolic administration, has returned with a new book that covers Donald Trump’s waning days in office — Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency.
Wolff provides new insight into Trump’s lame-duck period and reveals new details about the reactions of top administration officals and Trump family members to the violent events of the January 6th insurrection.
Among the revelations is the fact that, as Wolff puts it:
“Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, reportedly saw the assault on the Capitol as ‘an optics issue'”.
That’s an easy and privileged opinion to take when ensconced safely away from the mayhem, but it’s not like many people look to Ivanka Trump as a paragon of insight and concern for the fabric of our democracy.
Other morsels culled from the previews of Wolff’s book include the description of Trump’s clownish attorney (now suspended from legal practice) Rudy Giuliani whom the author portrays as “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania”.
One of the most interesting takeaways from Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency is the notion that Trump and his cronies were surprised at how out of control the march by his mob of hyped-up supporters to the Capitol had become as it devolved into an all-out riot and overwhelmed the outnumbered Capitol Police.
Wolff tells a story of how, after Trump falsely told protestors that he would be joining them on their march to the Capitol, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was forced to intercede with the Secret Service.
“No. There’s no way we are going to the Capitol,” Meadows told the concerned Secret Service agents.
“You said you were going to march with them to the Capitol,” Meadows reportedly told Trump. “How would we do that? We can’t organize that. We can’t.”
“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump reportedly replied.
While the former president was initially excited and pleased at the raucous enthusiam of his surging mob as he viewed the TV coverage from a safe remove, even Trump himself soon came to the realization that the situation was spinning out of control and not necessarily to his benefit after it became clear that Vice President Pence was not going to refuse to certify the legitimate electoral college results.
“How bad is this? This looks terrible. This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats,” Wolff quotes Trump as telling Mark Meadows.
Like his daughter Ivanka, Donald Trump apparently was not concerned about the violence or the assault on the very foundational principles of American democracy that was taking place, but instead was solely focused on the optics of the situation in terms of how it would affect him personally.
While Trump’s narcissism is not a new story by any stretch of the imagination, Wolff’s new book cements the impression of a president in full Marie Antoinette mode.
You can read advance excerpts of Michale Wolff’s new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency in The Guardian at this link. The full book will be available on its publication date of July 27th.
Original reporting by Edward Helmore at The Guardian.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.