There are plenty of shocking bombshells in
I haven't read it yet, but I have been following the crowdsourced effort by other journalists to recount every salacious tidbit. The quotes from staffers and
"For [Treasury Secretary]
Wolff's sourcing methods leave much to be desired, and it seems likely that some of the quotes and incidents were fed to him at best secondhand. Some flatly deny saying what Wolff ascribes to them. Others do not dispute their damning statements. Former
As for Trump himself, Wolff describes the president as an easily bored narcissist with a hair-trigger attention span and a thin-skinned ego.
But this has been reported countless times already. Last month,
You can call such things "fake news" -- as the president himself often does. But even a normal citizen can follow Trump's Twitter feed or listen to him speak and see that he is, by any conventional standard, obsessed with TV coverage. We've known for years -- and the
Similarly, if you've watched or read virtually any interview with the president -- never mind listened to him at a rally -- you've observed how the president struggles to complete a line of thought without being distracted. Diagramming his sentences often requires a grammatical Rube Goldberg machine to connect verbs and nouns, subjects and predicates.
In short, even discounting for hearsay and exaggeration, the Trump in "Fire and Fury" seems utterly plausible save for those who have chosen not to believe their own lying eyes.
Trump has benefitted from a tendency among both his biggest fans and his biggest foes to see more than meets the eye. For the true believers, there must be a method behind the madness. The Trump we see on Twitter and TV conceals a strategic thinker who keeps his enemies off balance by "controlling the narrative" or some such treacle.
When Trump says he understands tax policy "better than anybody. Better than the greatest CPA," his fans want to believe that's true, or at least that there's some truth to it. Likewise all of his other bizarre boasts ("I know more about renewables than any human being on Earth"; "Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as
And yet, not once in hundreds of speeches and interviews has the president ever slipped and actually talked expertly for more than a minute on any public policy without the benefit of a teleprompter. For a president not known to avoid showing off, it's a remarkable accomplishment to keep his policy chops so well hidden.
Trump's biggest enemies have something of a mirror-image delusion. In order to justify perpetual "resistance," they must believe that the president has some long-term evil scheme in mind for overthrowing the democratic order. It's a cartoonish exaggeration of the hysteria some on the left once had with regard to
The truth may not be as horrifying as Wolff and others describe, nor as terrifying as "the resistance" fears. All it takes is a willingness to see the obvious: The president is a man out of his depth, propped up by a staff and a party that needs to believe more than what the facts will support.