Excerpts from new book about Trump presidency

Friday January 5 2018

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump. PHOTO | SAUL LOEB | AFP  

By AFP
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The following are excerpts published by New York magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post from the new book by Michael Wolff about President Donald Trump, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

Without addressing specifics, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said there were things in the book that were "completely untrue."

Trump also issued a statement denouncing comments made in the book by Steve Bannon, saying that the former White House chief strategist had "lost his mind."

TRUMP TEAM THOUGHT IT WOULD LOSE

"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.

"There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon's not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States."

BANNON ON MEETING WITH RUSSIANS

"The three senior guys in the campaign (Donald Trump Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort) thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."

BANNON ON CHINA

"The real enemy, (Bannon) said, was China. China was the first front in a new Cold War. China's everything. Nothing else matters. We don't get China right, we don't get anything right. This whole thing is very simple. China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930. The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world, until they're not. And they're gonna flip like Germany in the '30s. You're going to have a hypernationalist state, and once that happens, you can't put the genie back in the bottle."

IVANKA HARBORS PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS

"Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew. It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two 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."

TRUMP FEARS BEING POISONED

"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 pre-made."

TRUMP ON HIS STAFF

"When he got on the phone after dinner, he'd speculate on the flaws and weaknesses of each member of his staff. Bannon was disloyal (not to mention he always looks like shit). (Chief of staff Reince) Priebus was weak (not to mention he was short - a midget). Kushner was a suck-up. (White House spokesman) Sean Spicer was stupid (and looks terrible too). (Senior adviser Kellyanne) Conway was a crybaby. Jared and Ivanka should never have come to Washington."

OBSESSION WITH MURDOCH

"Rupert Murdoch, who had promised to pay a call on the president-elect, was running late. When some of the guests made a move to leave, an increasingly agitated Trump assured them that Rupert was on his way. 'He's one of the greats, the last of the greats,' Trump said. 'You have to stay to see him.' Not grasping that he was now the most powerful man in the world, Trump was still trying mightily to curry favor with a media mogul who had long disdained him as a charlatan and fool."

THE COMB-OVER EXPLAINED

"(Ivanka Trump) 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."