The year 2018 is already off to a wild start in Trump world. This morning, The Guardian reported that Steve Bannon has turned on the president. Bannon allegedly called Donald Trump Jr. and Russians meeting in Trump Tower "treasonous," and predicted that special counsel Robert Mueller will hone in on money laundering and totally nail Jared Kushner.
All this juicy info comes from the upcoming book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by journalist Michael Wolff.
New York magazine has an excerpt of the exposé, which covers the Trump camp from the shock of election night to the continuing shock of occupying the West Wing. Here are the wildest revelations so far.
1. Trump's goal in running for president wasn't to become president.
As the campaign came to an end, Trump himself was sanguine. His ultimate goal, after all, had never been to win. “I can be the most famous man in the world,” he had told his aide Sam Nunberg at the outset of the race. His longtime friend Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, liked to say that if you want a career in television, first run for president. Now Trump, encouraged by Ailes, was floating rumors about a Trump network. It was a great future. He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities.
2. Nobody was happy on election night.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears—and not of joy.
3. Trump finds the constitution boring.
Early in the campaign, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate. "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment," Nunberg recalled, "before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."
4. Trump allegedly didn't know who John Boehner was.
"And you need a son of a bitch who knows Washington. You’ll want to be your own son of a bitch, but you don’t know Washington." Ailes had a suggestion: John Boehner, who had stepped down as Speaker of the House only a year earlier.
"Who’s that?" asked Trump.
Note: Trump's response could plausibly be a joke.
5. Ann Coulter warned him not to hire his kids.
It was Ann Coulter who finally took the president-elect aside. "Nobody is apparently telling you this,” she told him. “But you can’t. You just can’t hire your children."
6. Steve Bannon says Trump's in with the Russians.
"What has he gotten himself into with the Russians?" pressed [former Fox News chairman Roger] Ailes.
"Mostly," said Bannon, "he went to Russia and he thought he was going to meet Putin. But Putin couldn’t give a shit about him. So he’s kept trying."
7. Trump and Melania fought at the inauguration.
Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. He was angry that A-level stars had snubbed the event, disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House, and visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears. Throughout the day, he wore what some around him had taken to calling his golf face: angry and pissed off, shoulders hunched, arms swinging, brow furled, lips pursed.
8. Bannon designed the rollout of the Muslim Ban to be a nightmare.
On Friday, January 27 — only his eighth day in office — Trump signed an executive order issuing a sweeping exclusion of many Muslims from the United States. In his mania to seize the day, with almost no one in the federal government having seen it or even been aware of it, Bannon had succeeded in pushing through an executive order that overhauled U.S. immigration policy while bypassing the very agencies and personnel responsible for enforcing it.
The result was an emotional outpouring of horror and indignation from liberal media, terror in immigrant communities, tumultuous protests at major airports, confusion throughout the government, and, in the White House, an inundation of opprobrium from friends and family. What have you done? You have to undo this! You’re finished before you even start! But Bannon was satisfied. He could not have hoped to draw a more vivid line between Trump’s America and that of liberals. Almost the entire White House staff demanded to know: Why did we do this on a Friday, when it would hit the airports hardest and bring out the most protesters?
"Errr … that’s why," said Bannon. "So the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.” That was the way to crush the liberals: Make them crazy and drag them to the left.
9. Jared Kushner offered to officiate Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski's wedding.
On the Sunday after the immigration order was issued, Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski, arrived for lunch at the White House....
Trump, changing the topic, said to Scarborough and Brzezinski, “So what about you guys? What’s going on?” He was referencing their not-so-secret secret relationship. The couple said it was still complicated, but good.
“You guys should just get married,” prodded Trump.
“I can marry you! I’m an internet Unitarian minister,” Kushner, otherwise an Orthodox Jew, said suddenly.
“What?” said the president. “What are you talking about? Why would they want you to marry them when I could marry them? When they could be married by the president! At Mar-a-Lago!”
10. Ivanka thinks she's going to 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.
11. Ivanka has enough awareness to make fun of her dad's hair.
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.
12. Surprise! Donald and Melania have separate bedrooms.
Trump, in fact, found the White House to be vexing and even a little scary. He retreated to his own bedroom — the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms.
13. More surprises! He's a nightmare for the White House staff.
In the first days, he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room. He reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: “If my shirt is on the floor, it’s because I want it on the floor.” Then he imposed a set of new rules: Nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed.
14. Steve Bannon, Reince Preibus, and Jared Kushner were all simultaneously in charge, reflecting Trump's goals.
Bannon offered a rousing fuck-you show of force; Priebus offered flattery from the congressional leadership; Kushner offered the approval of blue-chip businessmen. Each appeal was exactly what Trump wanted from the presidency, and he didn’t understand why he couldn’t have them all. He wanted to break things, he wanted Congress to give him bills to sign, and he wanted the love and respect of New York machers and socialites.
15. The president has basic issues processing information.
Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate. He trusted his own expertise — no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s.