Donald Trump has clearly never watched The West Wing. In an episode where an insider writes a book that the fictional President Bartlet considers to be damaging, his staffers successfully talk him into not publicly pushing back against it, for fear of bringing more attention to the book. Trump has been handling the new book “Fire and Fury” in the opposite manner – and now he’s staging a late night meltdown about it as we speak.
First, Trump sent a cease and desist letter to Steve Bannon last night regarding the quotes he provided for the book, vowing that “legal action is imminent.” Then today, Trump sent a letter to the author and publisher of the book, demanding that its publication be brought to a halt. All this did was serve to turn the book and its claims into an even bigger story, which gave it even more media attention. Now Trump is trying to tweet the book to death.
Just before 11pm eastern time, Trump tweeted “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. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!” By all accounts, this is factually untrue; book author Michael Wolff was in fact given a White House pass and invited in to document things as he pleased. Trump would have repeatedly seen Wolff in and around the West Wing throughout the year.
While we can certainly appreciate the accuracy of the nickname Sloppy Steve, at this point it’s clear Donald Trump doesn’t understand how any of this works. He can’t sue Steve Bannon, or the book author and publisher, while he’s continuing to tweet things like this. All he’s doing is bringing further attention to the claims made by Bannon and others in the book. But as the Russia scandal continues to close in on him, it seems Trump would rather go down tweeting than go quietly.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report