The eagle has landed. Fire and Fury, the book Donald Trump quite literally doesn't want you to read, was released five days early in defiance of his lawyers' cease and desist letter. Reporter Michael Wolff's tell-all on the first months of the Trump administration is a lively, terrifying portrait of a team so dysfunctional they gave a journalist such intimate access.
It can be overwhelming, so I picked one protagonist for us to follow through this bonkers moment in American history.
Here are the most crucial quotes related to the one and only socialite-turned jewelry model-turned-Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump.
1. Ivanka Trump apparently doesn't like Melania, and made fun of the fact that her stepmother thought her father could be president.
In 2014, when he first seriously began to consider running for president, Melania was one of the few who thought it was possible he could win. It was a punch line for his daughter, Ivanka, who had carefully distanced herself from the campaign. With a never-too-hidden distaste for her stepmother, Ivanka would say to friends: "All you have to know about Melania is that she thinks if he runs he'll certainly win."
2. It was Ivanka who crushed Chris Christie.
Fun fact: Christie was the prosecutor who put Jared Kushner's father Charlie in prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Wolff writes, "Ivanka told her father that Christie's appointment as chief of staff or to any other high position would be extremely difficult for her and her family, and it would be best that Christie be removed from the Trump orbit altogether."
3. She mused that she would be the first female president.
Between themselves, [Jared and Ivanka] had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.
4. Ivanka and Jared had "super-status" in the West Wing, with Ivanka pulling that "DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS?" shtick.
She and Jared, or Jared, but by inference, she too, were in effect the real chief of staff—or certainly as much a chief of staff as Priebus or Bannon, all of them reporting directly to the president. Or, even more to the organizational point, Jared and Ivanka had a wholly independent status inside the West Wing. A super status. Even as Priebus and Bannon tried, however diplomatically, to remind the couple of staff procedures and propriety, they would in turn remind the West Wing leadership of their overriding First Family prerogatives.
5. She had the awareness to make fun of her father's hair to her friends.
She treated her father with a degree of detachment, even irony, going so far as to make fun of his comb-over to others. She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.
6. Donald and Ivanka get along "peculiarly well."
She was the real mini-Trump...she accepted him. She was a helper not just in his business dealings, but in his marital realignments. She facilitated entrances and exits. If you have a douchebag dad, and if everyone is open about it, then maybe it becomes fun and life a romantic comedy—sort of.
7. Yet people insist that there's still detachment in Javanka's relationship with Trump.
"They understand him, I think truly," reflected Joe Scarborough. "And they appreciate his energy. But there's detachment." That is, Scarborough went on, they have tolerance but few illusions.
8. Ivanka and her team (Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell) took control of the State of the Union speech, and saw it as a victory over Bannon's vision.
The success of the speech confirmed the Jared and Ivanka strategy: look for common ground. It also confirmed Ivanka's understanding of her father: he just wanted to be loved. And likewise, it confirmed Bannon's worst fear: Trump, in his true heart, was a marshmallow.
9. Jared and Ivanka really hate Kellyanne, and gave her a Cruella de Vil-inspired nickname.
None were more put off than Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who, appalled at the shamelessness of her television appearances, extended this into a larger critique of Conway’s vulgarity. When referring to her, they were particularly partial to using the shorthand “nails”, a reference to her Cruella de Vil-length manicure treatments.
Note: Ivanka clearly got Donald's nickname-generating gene.
10. Ivanka made a PowerPoint with pictures of dying kids to inspire Trump to strike Syria.
Ivanka and Dina [Powell] created a presentation that Bannon, in disgust, characterized as kids foaming at the mouth. When the two women showed the presentation to the president, he went through it several times. He seemed mesmerized.
11. Ivanka and Jared were afraid of James Comey.
"The kids"—Jared and Ivanka—exhibited an increasingly panicked sense that the FBI and [Department of Justice] were moving beyond Russian election interference into family finances. "Ivanka is terrified," said a satisfied Bannon.
Ivanka's father-in-law, convicted felon Charlie Kushner, was worried, too. When it came to the discussions of whether or not to fire Comey, "their urgency, compounded by Charlie Kushner's panic, encouraged [Trump], arguing that once possibly charmable Comey was now a dangerous and uncontrollable player whose profit would be their loss."
According to Wolff, when it came to the Comey firing, "Ivanka and Jared had not only supported it, but insisted on it."
12. Steve Bannon really drags her in the book, calling her "dumb as a brick."
Bannon told Wolff:
She was a nonevent on the campaign. She became a White House staffer and that's when people suddenly realized she's dumb as a brick. A little marketing savvy and has a look, but as far as understanding actually how the world works and politics is and means—nothing. Once you expose that, you lose such credibility. Jared just kind of flits in and does the Arab stuff.
13. Bannon openly attacked her in front of her father, who didn't defend her.
"You," he said, pointing at her as the president watched, "are a f*cking liar." Ivanka's bitter complaints to her father, which in the past had diminished Bannon, were now met by a hands-off Trump: "I told you this is a tough town, baby."
14. Bannon and Priebus bonded over hating Javanka.
"The professional White House was united against the amateur family White House," Wolff says.
15. When Trump withdrew America from the Paris Climate Agreement, Bannon said, "Score. The b*tch is dead."
16. Ivanka and Jared went with Trump to the G20 summit in Hamburg so they'd be out of town when the news of Jared and Don Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer broke in The New York Times.
17. On the plane ride back, Ivanka took a sleeping pill—her alibi for any potential obstruction of justice charges as they drafted a response for the press.
Lawyer Marc Corallo privately confided that he thought the Air Force One meeting represented a likely obstruction of justice, and quit. Ivanka and Jared leaked to the press that he was fired.
18. When another lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told Trump to send Javanka back to New York, they helped coordinate leaks against him.
19. Hiring Anthony Scaramucci was Javanka's idea.
"He's good on television," Ivanka told Spicer when she explained the rationale for hiring a former hedge fund manager as White House communications director. "Maybe he can help us."
Bannon viewed this as a sign that they were losing it.
20. People in the West Wing were afraid of Javanka.
Curiously, for all their callowness, Jared and Ivanka had become quite a fearsome presence, as feared by others as the two of them feared Bannon. What's more, they had become quite accomplished infighters and leakers—they had front-room and back-channel power—although, in their woundedness, they insisted, incredible, that they never leaked. "If they hear someone talking about them, because they are so careful about their image and have crafted this whole persona—it's like anyone who tries to pierce it or say anything against it has a big problem," said one senior staffer. "They get very upset and will come after you."
21. They did try to get Trump to unambiguously condemn hate groups after Charlottesville.
...Jared and Ivanka, with Kelly backing them, urged presidential behavior. Their plan was to have Trump return to the White House and address the issue with a forceful censure of hate groups and racial politics—exactly the unambiguous sort of position Richard Spencer had strategically bet Trump would not willingly take.
Bannon, understanding these same currents in Trump, lobbied Kelly and told him that the Jarvanka approach would backfire: "It will be clear his heart's not in it," said Bannon.
They did not succeed.