President Donald Trump extended his Twitter assault late Friday on the author of an “untruthful” book that portrays him as an undisciplined man-child who didn’t actually want to win the White House.
“Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book,” Trump tweeted late Friday evening local time.
Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” published Friday, paints Trump as a leader who doesn’t understand the weight of the presidency and spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the phone to old friends.
Trump also ridiculed his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is extensively quoted in the West Wing tell-all, referring to him as “Sloppy Steve.”
The president claimed that Bannon “cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”
Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://t.co/mEeUhk5ZV9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
The tweet linked to an earlier post from the Republican National Committee’s official account that highlighted various reviews from Washington insiders branding Wolff as a “phony.”
Hours earlier, Trump had tweeted that he gave “Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book.”
“Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!” he added.
But in a Friday interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Wolff insisted that he absolutely spoke to the president. “Whether he realized it was an interview or not. I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record,” said Wolff.
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
The book quickly sold out in shops in the US capital, with some even lining up at midnight to get their hands on it and others circulating pirated copies.
Wolff, no stranger to controversy, quotes several key Trump aides expressing doubt about Trump’s ability to lead the world’s largest economy and military.
“Let me put a marker in the sand here. One hundred percent of the people around him” question Trump’s fitness for office, Wolff said.
“They all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him.”
The book includes extensive quotes from Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and its publication sparked a very public break between the former allies.
Bannon is quoted accusing Trump’s eldest son Don Jr of “treasonous” contacts with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, and saying the president’s daughter Ivanka, who imagines running for president one day, is “dumb as a brick.”
But it is Trump himself who is cast in the most unfavorable light.
The book claims that for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the president was an “idiot.” For Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, he was “dumb as shit.” And for National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, he was a “dope.”
The publication came as it emerged that at least a dozen members of the US Congress were briefed last month by a Yale University professor of psychiatry on Trump’s mental health.
“Lawmakers were saying they have been very concerned about this, the president’s dangerousness, the dangers that his mental instability poses on the nation,” Dr. Bandy Lee told CNN.
The White House issued a scorched-earth dismissal of “Fire and Fury,” its author and his sources, with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders calling it “complete fantasy.”
Behind the scenes, though, Trump has been enraged by the betrayal by Bannon — a man who engineered the New York real estate mogul’s link to the nationalist far right and helped create a pro-Trump media ecosystem.
AFP contributed to this report.