Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael D’Antonio spent hours interviewing Trump and his family in preparation to write his 2015 book Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success.
“Sadly,” D’Antonio noted, Wolff’s reporting on the “disparaging things the president says about women and his effort to understand the appeal of white supremacy also seem true to the man.”
As Wolff did, D’Antonio found that Trump told and retold “anecdotes and stories that sound rehearsed” to avoid addressing issues at hand, he said. Trump is also “bored by briefings and uninterested in details,” D’Antonio wrote, and believes that “expertise is overrated.” Trump also demands ”extreme personal loyalty,” D’Antonio discovered.
His “squid-ink” strategy of lying, as D’Antonio put it, allowed Trump to sell himself as a businessman. In “falsely claiming that various starlets pursued him for dates, or the British royals were eyeing Trump real estate, he played a game with reality,” the journalist wrote.
In a “super salesman, this habit was amusing,” he added. “In a president, it is both frightening and dangerous.”
D’Antonio had some criticism for Fire and Fury, calling Wolff’s writing style “tabloidy.” He said Wolff’s portrayal of the president as an “idiot surrounded by clowns” is an “incomplete and unsatisfying sketch.” But the biographer also conceded that “distortions” by Trump and frequently unreliable information from his team can make finding the “true” Trump difficult.
The bombshell book, released ahead of schedule after Trump’s lawyer attempted to stop publication, rattled the White House last week with its blasts against the president and his family. Among the most incendiary were revelations by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is quoted in the book calling a Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian operatives “treasonous.”
Bannon said his “treasonous” comment was actually aimed at Paul Manafort for allowing the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians to go ahead. The former campaign manager has been charged as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team.
Bannon blamed the quote in the book about “Don Jr.” on “inaccurate reporting.”