×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fire and Fury’ Author Michael Wolff: ‘Thank God for Donald Trump’

CANNES, France — Donald Trump’s spastic reaction to Michael Wolff’s controversial best-seller “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” helped the book sell millions of copies — and for that, Wolff is truly grateful.

“Once a day, I cast my eyes heavenward, and say, ‘Thank God for Donald Trump,'” said Wolff, speaking Monday at the Cannes Lions Festival of International Creativity, where he was interviewed by Jeff Goodby, co-founder and co-chairman of ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Wolff also said the Washington press corps is jealous of his reportage for “Fire and Fury,” which is based on the time he spent in a fly-on-the-wall capacity in the West Wing during the first tumultuous months of the Trump presidency. The gossipy, unverified and unattributed details of “Fire and Fury” — which Trump tried to block from publication with a cease-and-desist threat — have drawn skeptics questioning some of the book’s accuracy.

“I asked no questions. In seven months I don’t think I asked a question beyond, ‘How’s it going?'” Wolff claimed. Traditional political reporters, he added, are “all very resentful that I got this story… and made all this money.”

Wolff also repeated his claim that Trump threatened to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading the probe into the Trump campaign’s Russian ties. He cited the New York Times’ scoops about Trump explicitly ordering the firing of Mueller, who is overseeing the probe into the campaign’s ties to Russia. But according to Wolff, “Every day he tried to fire Mueller. He did this constantly, to virtually everyone. So the Times story was not wrong, but the Times story missed that fact.”

Asked by Goodby about the prospect of Trump being removed from office, Wolff said, “If Mike Pence becomes president, the news media will go into a depression. He’s the most boring man in the world.”

“Fire and Fury” offers an account of the initial months of Trump’s administration, describing the White House as plagued with infighting and President Trump unable to focus on the demands of the job.

Post-publication, Wolff claimed in media appearances that an alleged extramarital affair by Trump he wrote about in “Fire and Fury” was with Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Wolff has since admitted he didn’t actually know if Trump was having an affair.

Trump himself directly attacked “Fire and Fury” and Wolff, writing on Twitter that the book was “full of lies, misrepresentations, and sources that don’t exist.” The president has routinely claimed that news he simply doesn’t like is false.

Wolff, speaking at Cannes Lions, said “Trump’s critique [of the book] is not a critique. It’s a reaction in the moment. It ultimately has no real meaning, no real purpose, no real foundation.”

Wolff claimed he hasn’t received any death threats over “Fire and Fury,” and indeed he says he “didn’t get any negative comments anywhere. It’s been this remarkable outpouring, people stopping me and hugging me on the street.” His (tongue in cheek?) explanation: Wolff has been banned from Fox News, after he wrote a book about Rupert Murdoch that the media mogul didn’t like, so “I think what happened is all the people who might have threatened me, they don’t even know this book exists.” (This, of course, coming just minutes after Wolff credited Trump’s reaction to the book with boosting sales.)

In the wake of the book’s controversy, Wolff has been regularly parodied on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” with Fred Armisen portraying the author as shrugging off dubiously sourced passages.

Endeavor Content has acquired film and TV rights to “Fire and Fury” with an eye toward turning it into a television series. Jay Roach (“Game Change”) has signed on to direct the 10-part project.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • President Donald Trump waves as he

    Trump Holds Fundraiser in Hollywood's Backyard

    President Trump paid a visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, as part of a West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise $15 million. Trump is set to appear at a dinner at developer Geoffrey Palmer’s house in Beverly Hills, where tickets range from $1,000 to $100,000 for VIPs. Though set in Hollywood’s backyard, the event [...]

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image Debate Ad

    ABC Runs Debate Ad Showing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image

    ABC aired an ad during Thursday’s Democratic debate that depicted a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and likened her politics to those that caused the Cambodian genocide. New Faces GOP funded the ad, which features Elizabeth Heng, a Republican who lost a bid for a Fresno-area congressional seat last year. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, [...]

  • Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris.

    ABC News' Democratic Debate Lacked Energy and Purpose

    At long last, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on the same stage. And the result was a long and fairly dull evening. After two Democratic Party debate stages in which the field of candidates had been bifurcated — splitting, in both cases, the perceived frontrunners from the establishment and insurgent [...]

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden responds

    Protesters Interrupt Joe Biden During Democratic Debate

    Protesters interrupted presidential candidate Joe Biden during Thursday’s democratic debate. The chants came nearly two and a half hours in as moderator George Stephanopoulos asked the former vice president about any professional setbacks he’s faced and how he recovered from them. “We’re going to clear the protesters,” Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.” [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren,

    Dems Debate in Houston: Moderates Push Back on Medicare for All

    The third Democratic debate on Thursday was billed as the first showdown between the top contenders: Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden did challenge the liberal senators on health care early in the debate, which was broadcast on ABC. He asked repeatedly how they would pay for their multi-trillion [...]

  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth WarrenSecond 2020

    How to Watch the Third Democratic Primary Debate

    The leading Democratic candidates will once again go head to head tonight in Houston, Tex. for the party’s third debate ahead of the primaries. The anticipated debate, which will include the 10 Democratic candidates currently leading in the polls, will kick off at 8 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on ABC and Univision. ABC [...]

  • Gen Z Climate Activism

    How Generation Z Is Embracing Bold Action in the Face of Climate Crisis

    Of all the dire forecasts she’s heard about the climate crisis, there is one that Arielle Martinez Cohen can’t get out of her mind. The report, from an Australian think tank, projected that if nothing is done, civilization could collapse by 2050. “I will be 49 in that year,” says the 17-year-old activist. “It makes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content