Friday, January 5, 2018

My Year Inside Trump's Insane White House

By Michael Wolff

interviewed Donald Trump for The Hollywood Reporter in June 2016, and he seemed to have liked — or not disliked — the piece I wrote. "Great cover!" his press assistant, Hope Hicks, emailed me after it came out (it was a picture of a belligerent Trump in mirrored sunglasses). After the election, I proposed to him that I come to the White House and report an inside story for later publication — journalistically, as a fly on the wall — which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job. No, I said. I'd like to just watch and write a book. "A book?" he responded, losing interest. "I hear a lot of people want to write books," he added, clearly not understanding why anybody would. "Do you know Ed Klein?"— author of several virulently anti-Hillary books. "Great guy. I think he should write a book about me." But sure, Trump seemed to say, knock yourself out.

Since the new White House was often uncertain about what the president meant or did not mean in any given utterance, his non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around — checking in each week at the Hay-Adams hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers who put my name in the "system," and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch.

The West Wing is configured in such a way that the anteroom is quite a thoroughfare — everybody passes by. Assistants — young women in the Trump uniform of short skirts, high boots, long and loose hair — as well as, in situation-comedy proximity, all the new stars of the show: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, Gary Cohn, Michael Flynn (and after Flynn's abrupt departure less than a month into the job for his involvement in the Russia affair, his replacement, H.R. McMaster), all neatly accessible.

The nature of the comedy, it was soon clear, was that here was a group of ambitious men and women who had reached the pinnacle of power, a high-ranking White House appointment — with the punchline that Donald Trump was president. Their estimable accomplishment of getting to the West Wing risked at any moment becoming farce.

A new president typically surrounds himself with a small group of committed insiders and loyalists. But few on the Trump team knew him very well — most of his advisors had been with him only since the fall. Even his family, now closely gathered around him, seemed nonplussed. "You know, we never saw that much of him until he got the nomination," Eric Trump's wife, Lara, told one senior staffer. If much of the country was incredulous, his staff, trying to cement their poker faces, were at least as confused.

Read the rest here.


  1. It sounds like White House politics in the extreme. Did any reporter have that kind of access to Obama, Bush, Clinton and write so colorfully of their first year?

  2. Meh. Not a Trump defender here. But that article drips with biased language, slants, snark etc. that are stated conclusively rather than demonstrating it.

    To him, it's all just a "comedy". Well the Obama Whitehouse or Bush Whitehouse may not have been as imbecilic, but it was most definitely just as ignorant, evil and stupid.

  3. --- Steve Bannon tried to gamely suggest that Trump was mere front man and that he, with plan and purpose and intellect, was, more reasonably, running the show — commanding a whiteboard of policies and initiatives that he claimed to have assembled from Trump's off-the-cuff ramblings and utterances. ---

    I believe Bannon said that and, you know what? I believe Bannon. I believe that, at one point, he was the political operative that had the policies and initiatives at thw ready for a new Trumpista era of neo-mercantilism. Then, once Trump was elected, the political insider was discarded like a loaded diaper.

  4. Or Trump invited this guy in to write a loaded book that would be instantly discredited due to this "author's" notoriously bad reputation for accuracy. Or at least that's what Roger Stone thinks. Trump is way smarter than people suspect - and he plays dumb really really well in order to fool people for his own purposes.

    As far as Bannon is concerned, Trump was planning to run for decades and preparing his agenda. Steve's agenda just happened to line up on most issues.