Michael Wolff defends book and says of Trump: ‘To quote Steve Bannon: He’s lost it’

The author of an explosive new book about Donald Trump’s first year in office has said he stands by his reporting and that the president’s threat of legal action is only boosting his sales.

Michael Wolff also stood by his account that many in the administration think Trump is incapable of meeting the demands of his role – claims which have prompted a furious backlash from the White House.

The author noted testimony that Trump keeps repeating himself: whereas once he would tell the same three stories in 25 or 30 minutes, he said, now he does so in 10.

“I will quote Steve Bannon,” Wolff said. “‘He’s lost it.’”

Discussing Trump’s response to the book on NBC’s Today show on Friday, in his first interview since publication of excerpts from book by the Guardian triggered a political firestorm, Wolff asked: “Where do I send the box of chocolates?

“Not only is he helping me sell books, but he’s helping me prove the point of the book.

“I mean, this is extraordinary that a president of the United States would try to stop the publication of a book. This doesn’t happen, has not happened from other presidents, would not even happen from the CEO of a mid-sized company.”

He has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him. He just has to be satisfied in the moment

Michael Wolff on Trump

Trump’s lawyer demanded a halt to publication of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House or excerpts. Its publisher instead brought forward the release date to Friday. The book offers a scathing portrait of a dysfunctional White House and a president out of his depth.

Trump attacked Wolff on Thursday evening, tweeting: “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. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.”

Wolff, a media critic and columnist, responded: “What was I doing there if he didn’t want me to be there? I absolutely spoke to the president. Whether he realised it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record.”

The author spent about three hours with Trump during the election campaign and in the White House, he continued, “so my window into Donald Trump is pretty significant”.

He added: “But even more to the point, and this was really sort of the point of the book, I spoke to people who spoke to the president on a daily, sometime minute-by-minute basis. In a sense there was…

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