Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff [Book Summary]

From June 2015, since the instant he declared his candidacy for the Presidency, to the day before the 2016 election, few experts trusted Donald Trump could win. However, he did win.

How did Trump, in various means a doubtful President, take to the work?

This summary, drawn on Michael Wolff’s long research into the Trump administration, provides a behind-the-scenes look at how his government works. You will learn about Wolff’s viewpoint on who the key people are, how they relate with one another and what the majority of them actually think about the President.

Upon its publication, Fire and Fury stimulated a media storm. Read the chapters to find out the reason why.

Buy this book from Amazon

Chapter 1 – Trump wasn’t really ready to be the winner of the presidency.

Were you taken aback when Donald Trump, a man that doesn’t have any political experience at all, won the US presidential election in 2016? If you were shocked, you’re definitely not the only one. Even Trump, not to talk of most of his campaign team, didn’t imagine that he’d win.

Weeks before the election, Donald Trump was telling his wife, Melania Trump repeatedly, that things were going to go back to the way it used to be in November. Although their relationship isn’t a really close one, Melania hated living under the media’s investigation and having her husband’s past of adultery talked about on national news.

However, everyone on the campaign, as well as Kellyanne Conway the campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and advisor trusted that the experience of the Trump presidential campaign was about to turn to a screeching stop.

Everybody was getting their post-campaign lives ready and preparing for their next plans. Trump intended to say to the world that the election had been stolen from him while discovering the option of his own television channel, named the Trump Network. Conway was keen to change her new notoriety to a steady media job with one of the cable-news networks.

Obvious evidence of the win’s unexpectedness is how unready numerous campaign members were for the inspection that accompanies being in the White House. Donald Trump, as well as other campaign associates such as Paul Manafort, have real-estate assets that set them in a financial grey zone, with credentials and transactions that don’t stand up well to inspection.

Paul Manafort only accepted to assist in the management of the campaign since he was relieved by Jared Kushner that there was no chance they’d come out victorious, and hence no caused he’d be exposed to any scrutinies.

Therefore, when the results were completed, and Trump was proven as the winner, everyone was in a shock, even Trump’s closest friends and the majority of his staff. The only people who had thought that the numbers seem good were Steve Bannon who is Trump’s advisor and his pollster, John McLaughlin. Every other person was unprepared for what it is to come.

Chapter 2 – The advisors in Trump’s inner circle were regularly disagreeing with each other.

Being a part of a loser campaign and part of a White House staff are two completely different problems, something Jared Kushner learned quite fast. Once this change was completed, Kushner detected that Steve Bannon wasn’t acting as buddy-buddy anymore as he had been.

Making Trump elected served as a shared goal, something that connected everyone on the staff –however, now it was about determining policy, and Bannon’s agenda was totally different from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s.

Bannon labeled Ivanka and her husband, Jared, as Jarvanka and also, rather sarcastically, as “the geniuses,” and his notions of where the Trump presidency should head to depend on an extreme move away from globalism and toward economic nationalism. He wanted to start a trade war against China and end the connection in hopeless foreign matters, like the apparently ceaseless wars in the Middle East.

Conversely, Jarvanka, wished to plea to Trump’s Democratic preferences and make bold deals in the Middle East and mend the issue between Israel and Palestine.

As a matter of fact, the Kushner family is old friends with Israel’s prime minister named Benjamin Netanyahu, and Jared keeps close communication with the infamous political wizard, Henry Kissinger. Also, Jared and Ivanka are extremely connected to numerous business people in the region, although some of them, such as mining and real-estate billionaire Beny Steinmetz, is being investigated as a result of dubious business routines.

At all times, Bannon had a good giggle anytime Trump stated that Jared would be the subsequent Kissinger, the man who would take peace to the Middle East. In Bannon’s view, Jarvanka is completely different from what Trumpism is all about.

But, both Bannon and Jarvanka, were in for a shock. Although the campaign had been essentially about managing Trump, his presidency quickly turned out to be a testament to how unmanageable Trump can be.

Chapter 3 – The first phases of the Trump presidency have been seen by an effort to rule, not negotiate.

Steve Bannon originated from the Breitbart media, directed by Rob Mercer and Rebekah Mercer, his daughter, both of them had a vision of an America that was small government, anti-regulation, anti-Muslim and pro-Christians

Over the years, Breitbart turned into a min voice in the alt-right movement of ultra-conservatives, the people who arrived in force at Trump rallies and are viewed as his main group of supporters. These are the people Trump was probably talking about when he mentioned that people would keep backing him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.

Bannon had very much of drive on his side when the Trump presidency started. Much to Trump’s humiliation, Bannon was seen as the person who planned the campaign, and he had big ideas to begin things off with “surprise and awe.”

This would demonstrate the president’s skill to rule the political field through the utilization of executive orders (EOs) that avoid congress and the negotiation process.

Bannon had strategies to issue 200 EOs during the first 100 days, and one of the first ones, issued on the 27th of January, was on immigration, a matter essential to Trumpism; it prohibited the entry of people from specific countries with that has the majority of its population as Muslims.

Both Bannon and Trump detest bureaucratic sluggishness and incompetence; however, this approach of utilizing EOs had a different advantage: no one of Trump’s senior staff had any hint on how to make policy the normal way or write an official document. Therefore, Bannon to a staff member to check online, check how to write an EO and do it.

Bannon was satisfied with the troubled response people had to the strict travel ban. To him, with his experience in clickbait media, there was no dissimilarity between delight and disgust. A click is a click.

Chapter 4 – The Trump government is torn between the Bannon approach and the Kushner approach.

After his first week as the president, Trump called Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of the MSNBC talk show Morning Joe, to come to the White House, and he couldn’t fathom why they weren’t as satisfied with the response to the travel ban as he was. In spite of the thousands of protesters occupying the country’s airports and a lot of families torn apart, Trump’s view was that “We did great!”

Every Jared’s friends and advisors cautioned him against having a work in the White House; however, both he and Ivanka felt that they were the greatest protection against unrestrained Trumpism and they felt that they were the only ones who could stop the president from yielding to his worst desires.

Basically, this signified showing Trump with an alternative to the Bannon approach.

What Bannon learned early on was that Trump had a propensity to accept with anyone that spoke last. Therefore, Bannon would regularly place himself to have the last word, therefore really increasing the probabilities of Trump following his ideas.

Torn between Bannon’s deeply aggressive way and Jarvanka’s efforts to encourage Trump to use a more modest temperament, the Trump administration was in endless disorder, an absolute war zone between Bannonites and Jarvankaists.

As a scheme meant to win Trump’s consent, Jared and Ivanka recruited some assistance by bringing in Gary Cohn and Dina Powell, two stalwarts from Goldman Sachs, the legendary investment firm that Trump had high respect in.

Just like others that would take jobs within the Trump administration, both Cohn and Powell were aware that they were going into possibly toxic surroundings. However, they responded to this concern with the belief that they could have a positive influence and make it a little less toxic.

Therefore, on the 28th of February, when Trump delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress, arranged by Powell, Cohn, Jared, and Ivanka, it looked like Team Jarvanka was on the rise. For one second, Trump stuck to the script, identified in the White House as the Goldman Speech; he nearly appeared presidential.

For Bannon, it was a nauseating show of Trump attempting to offer help to the people they were meant to be shaking up.

Chapter 5 – Sacking James Comey the FBI Director marked a milestone for the Trump government.

Back then during the mid-2016, there were stories in the press that the Trump campaign was in alliance with the Russian government. However, just before his inauguration, the information of an independent investigation proposed a really worrying connection.

The Steele Dossier – named after its author, Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent –informs a worrying scenario. If the dossier is to be trusted, the Russians have implicating details of Trump and perhaps using it to control him and his presidential influences.

The FBI, under the management of James Comey, published discoveries of their own on the 6th of January 2017, which detailed that Russian agents had really interrupted the 2016 election. The CIA and the NSA approved with these discoveries.

Nobody in the Trump administration liked the idea that the FBI was inspecting if the Russians had interfered with the election. However, when Jared Kushner’s sources within the FBI revealed to him that the FBI was beginning to check into the Trump family finances, Kushner started suggesting to Trump that sacking Comey might be a good thing to do.

Bannon was resolute: that this is a bad idea, it will just make things worse. However, Kushner had Trump to himself during the first weekend of May 2017, and Trump was becoming swayed that he should use his power and sack Comey. When they got back to the White House on Monday, May 9, Trump was already ready to fire Comey; they even had a list of the reasons why Comey should go, as well as, ironically enough, the poor investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016 and Kushner’s claim that 75% of FBI agents don’t like Comey.

Jeff Sessions the Attorney General said to Trump that he should to be patient while he with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein backed their case. However, Trump hates being told what to do, and, without any more notice, he sent Comey a letter, instantly sacking him on Tuesday, May 10.

Since Sessions had openly removed himself from the connection in the Russian investigation, this left Rod Rosenstein with the duty of immediately showing an allegedly legitimate cause for the sacking. Understandably disappointed with Trump’s reckless act, Rosenstein returned the favor by employing former FBI director Robert Mueller to officially investigate the chance of any conflict of interest between Trump and Russia.

Chapter 6 – Trump has an issue with reading and handling information.

Trump doesn’t read. He essentially believes that he doesn’t need to read, and that’s the reason he had his assistant, Hope Hicks, read the newspapers for him and show him with a positive turn on the news every morning.

His rejection to read is really utter that some people within the White House staff have though if maybe he has a reading deficiency, or perhaps dyslexia.

Regardless of what the matter is, it’s associated with Trump’s lack of ability to process information in the manner you’d suppose of a world leader. And this characteristic of Trump’s – or lack thereof – has caused all kinds of embarrassing circumstances.

One of the first huge tests of his running was a chemical-weapon attack in Syria, which happened on the 4th of April, 2017. His national security advisor named General H. R. McMaster attempted to summarize the matter to  Trump and the suitable reply; however, Trump looked more distressed about having to think about Syria than the attack, which had killed a lot of children.

Bannon and Trump bonded over their hatred of McMaster, who would lead Trump into angry fits in their meetings every week by attempting to show him with PowerPoint presentations and make him read documents about critical matters. Now, Bannon was advising Trump to change the from custom and not react to the attack in Syria. Bannon clarified that nevertheless, there had been other foreign occurrences, where more children had died, and the United States didn’t get do anything. Therefore, why should we get involved here? What do we obtain from it?

Bannon’s transactional thinking fascinated to the dealmaker in Trump; however, Ivanka wasn’t close to giving up. She was aware that, although her father doesn’t read, he likes TV news; therefore, she created a video made of the footage from Syria and displayed it to Trump, who was immediately horrified by the images.

In this round, Team Jarvanka won and Trump reacted with a Tomahawk missile strike on the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria, organized as a PR trick to overlap with Trump’s dinner with the Chinese leadership at his house in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

Chapter 7 – A meeting set up by Donald Jr. exposed more ties to Russia and more bad decisions.

At the beginning of June, Trump was furious over the Russia investigation and really considering the opinion of sacking Jeff Sessions and Robert Mueller, and substituting the attorney general with a person that is still reliable to him –either one of the two the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey.

Bannon had to continue saying to him that, firstly, neither Giuliani nor Christie had a no likelihood of receiving confirmation approval for the position and, secondly, that there’s nothing as an executive privilege to evade an investigation.

Although, Bannon was pleased about one thing. On the 1st of June, he won an important victory by making Trump challenge Ivanka and remove the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, encouraging him to remark, “Score! The bitch is dead!”

However, a bigger issue was lying just around the corner. On the 8th of July, while Trump was still in Hamburg for the G20 Summit with both Jared and Ivanka, the New York Times published a key story. It had verification that, during June of 2016, Donald Trump, Jr. had brought Russian lobbyists, a Russian lawyer with identifications as a former agent of the Kremlin and some associates of the Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov to see his father at Trump Tower so that they could to share detrimental information they had on Hillary Clinton.

Bannon was aware that Donald’s two boys, Donald, Jr., and Eric, weren’t really clever; however, he was astonished that one of them would be so foolish to accompany Russians into Trump Tower, rather than holding a secret meeting at a motel-like everyone else would have done.

But, the foolishness didn’t end there. On their way back home from Hamburg, aboard Air Force One, Trump, Hope Hicks, and Jared Kushner thought of a reply to this breaking news – to state that the meeting was absolutely about “adoption policy in Russia”.

Once more, Bannon couldn’t believe that Trump wouldn’t ask for the advice of his legal team to come up with a better reply. Also, he couldn’t believe that Hicks would get mixed up in what was probably obstruction of justice.

Chapter 8 – The words of Trump’s have continually made his matter worse.

For the majority of the aspect, Trump has had a difficult time knowing how he could probably be held responsible for any of the issues in his administration. The business with Russia was entirely the mistake of Sessions; how could he remove himself and not protect Trump?! It didn’t seem sensible.

Also, Trump is in the routine of receiving lots of bad press by publishing early-morning, unrestrained Twitter blasts directed at different people who he feels have offended him in some manner. Still, anytime he’s questioned about these tweets, he’s indifferent or confused all the time, like, “What’s the big deal?”  

For instance, like Morning Joe the hosts of the MSNBC show became less motivated about Trump as the months wore on, he went to Twitter to talk about how the co-host Mika Brzezinski once attended one of his parties with a bleeding facelift. This ignited rage that a US president would share something like that; however, Trump’s reacting to that was, “Mika and Joe absolutely love this. High rating for them.”

Also, Trump has started behaving in a way not acceptable during several speeches, deviating from the set material and changing the circumstance into a type of semi-coherent, stream-of-consciousness talk that has a tendency to leave audiences dumbfounded, and not in a good manner. However, on the 20th of July, Trump exceeded even himself. He chose to do an unprepared interview with the New York Times that challenged Sessions not to quit and directed Mueller not to investigate his family’s finances.

As expected, Bannon was shocked at the seeming stupidity of the POTUS and he had an enraged fit, referring to Trump as the most undisciplined politician ever.

Immediately after this episode, and after the release of a book by Joshua Green named The Devil’s Bargain, which put the duty for Trump’s victory on Bannon’s shoulders, not Trump’s, the disagreement between the president and his advisor extended until Bannon was eventually sacked.

As of October 2017, Bannon is planning for his next move in presidential politics, preparing to either support another candidate or, maybe, to run himself. Also, he sets the odds of Trump being impeached at 33.3%; however, he is sure that he won’t remain for another term.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff Book Review

A lot of people in the world were surprised about the win of the Donald Trump campaign, even Donald Trump and many people from his team were surprised. His was a campaign established to fail, with no target of really winning. It was only created as a means to promote his brand in one of the world’s largest stages. There was nobody with any political experience or understand the business of leading and making policy; rather, we have an administration occupied with opposing power grabs and extensive conflicts of interest.

Buy this book from Amazon

Download Pdf

Download Epub


Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile:

Recent Posts