President Donald Trump claimed Thursday night that he had not authorized White House access for author Michael Wolff’s incendiary book on the Trump administration’s first year, warning readers to “look at this guy’s past,” an apparent dig at Wolff’s credibility, and referring to Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, as “sloppy Steve.”
“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,” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday night. “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!”
Trump’s assertion that he never spoke to Wolff for the book seems to contradict information from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said that the president did once speak to Wolff, albeit briefly and not in a formal interview setting.
Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” has put the Trump administration on the defensive this week, pushing back against embarrassing passages in the book that paint the president as ignorant, impulsive, narcissistic and inept and his West Wing disorganized and back-biting. Sanders has said the book is ridden with falsehoods and is “complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip.”
And while Wolff is a well-known writer, his new book has resurfaced old questions from some about his journalistic practices. Sanders complained Thursday that Wolff’s book contained little mistakes indicative of sloppy work, such as writing that White House communications director Hope Hicks is 26 years old when she is actually 29.
In the days since excerpts of the book began to surface, the most notable consequence has been a wedge seemingly driven between Trump and Bannon over remarks attributed to the latter in the book. According to Wolff, Bannon called a summer, 2016, meeting between Trump campaign leadership and a Russian attorney promising Kremlin-sourced incriminating information on Hillary Clinton as “unpatriotic” and “treasonous.” Bannon, who is also quoted making derisive and dismissive statements about the president, has not denied any of the comments.
Trump responded to Bannon’s words in the book with a scathing statement, declaring that the former chief strategist had “lost his mind” when he left the White House.