‘Every day, I thank heaven for Donald Trump’
“Think of Donald Trump as a salesman,” the author of one of the most incendiary political books of modern times told ad industry delegates in Cannes. “You guys should be able to appreciate that!”
Michael Wolff, whose Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House soared to the top of the bestseller lists, delivered a scathing, alarming and sometimes hilarious account of his time as an observer in a chaotic West Wing dominated by a volatile presidential ego.
“Think of the worst boss you’ve ever had,” he said, in a conversation with Jeff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein & Partners on the Lumiere stage. “That’s basically Donald Trump. He’s self-obsessed, he doesn’t listen to anyone. He doesn’t care about anyone. There’s no sense of loyalty to anyone and it’s fundamentally all about him.”
He explained how Trump’s capricious character and on-the-hoof policy-making were re-writing the rules of political journalism.
Traditionally, he explained, political reporters were in the business of delineating cause and effect. But, in Donald Trump, he said, they were faced with someone who was simply incapable of appreciating such things. “With him it is all spontaneous utterance. The moment is the moment and nothing else exists.”
Wolff spent seven months embedded in the White House — consciously avoiding the confrontational approach of traditional political journalism.
“Press corps people ask questions. I do a different thing,” he said. “In seven months I don’t think I asked a question beyond “How’s it going?””
The result was an extraordinary insight into the way the Trump administration functions, seen through the eyes of the officials and advisers closest to president.
“You saw this arc of certainty, to puzzlement, to incredulity, to anger, to “what the fuck do we do here?”, he said.
The book has sold in excess of 1.7 million copies, and plans are under way to turn it into a television series. It has brought Wolff fame, and fortune.
“Once a day,” he said, to laughter from his audience, “I cast my eyes heaven-ward and say thank you for Donald Trump!”