By now everyone has heard of Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, which depicts the White House as a chaotic, backstabbing, dysfunctional administration run by an illiterate, immature, insane, petulant, spoiled moron. Most people have also learned that Mr. Wolff, like any good journalist, has kept recordings of most of his interviews and that his publisher has heard those tapes and has published his accounts with confidence that the book is well corroborated. Well, the tapes are sort of an open secret in Washington, and I know that there are some real bombshells in there, but which were not put in the book. Here are some of them.
Have you ever wondered why President Trump refers to some of his staff and top military personnel as “my” generals, as if he owned them? Apparently, he does. The President has an entire collection of action figures that he had specially manufactured by Mattel and Hasbro and which he regularly plays with. In addition to the generals he has, the other characters are Sloppy Steve, Little Marco, Rocket Man, Lyin’ Ted, Crooked Hillary, Crazy Megyn, Pocahontas, and others. The figures are about five inches high and Trump has a specially constructed diorama, like the kind for model trains. There is even a small jail, where he puts the Clinton figure while chanting, “Lock her up. Lock her up.” He likes to march them around and stage mock battles, often saying things like, “Go, my General Mattis, make Crazy Megyn bleed.” And, “Rocket Man has a little button, but you don’t even have one, Lyin’ Ted.” When he is particularly worried about the Mueller probe, he screams until everyone leaves him alone and then he plays with the action figures and quiets down. Sometimes his Chief of Staff uses the figures to illustrate a particularly difficult policy point to the President.
President Trump has ailurophobia, an irrational fear of cats. Apparently, he was traumatized by two childhood events. His father ignored him until his mother made him reluctantly and angrily read young Donald a bedtime story, “Puss ’n’ Boots.” And the other boys at New York Military Academy called him a pussy. Like most ailurophobes, he thinks that every cat in the world has figured out his fear, and exploits it. He is always worried that one is about to rub up against him or that cat hair is going to get into his food or clothes or hair. Part of his legendary stiffness is due to this fear; he is edgy about this potential for feline contact. He also despises their natural grace and ease. He suffers another classic symptom of ailurophobia; he sees cats where there are none and this is particularly true in the case of the first lady, Melania. He perhaps reasonably likens her looks to that of a feline and has been known to run out of a room screaming, “Look at her! She wants to scratch my eyes out! She is a freaking cat!”
One of the reasons that almost all the photos you see have President Trump in a room with only men is that he likes to pit his staff against one another, and show his dominance over them by a particularly eccentric exercise. Out of the blue, he will suddenly shout, “Tool measuring time! Break them out, boys!” The staff men grumble with the resignation of sad souls that have been through it all before. But the Republican leadership is perhaps quickest to make the President happy; the sound of their zippers quickly coming down is music to Trump’s ears. Then the President will have a field day, laughing and joking and making up new nicknames, and engaging in “locker room talk,” such as threatening to fire men who do not measure up. Sometimes Trump will say, “Good thing Nikki Haley is not here, because she would win.” He has also been known to say that this is perhaps the one reason he became a Republican, remarking, “We don’t want any black guys in here, ruining the game.”
There is one other thing that all of the White House staff are in consensus about. As author Wolff says, there is one hundred percent agreement. That is what they call “Little Mermaid time.” When the President is upset about the improved ratings at “Saturday Night Live,” or if too many people ask him to read something, or if one of his golf partners tells him that five mulligans on one hole is too much, or if he remembers that Hillary got three million more votes than he did, then he starts to foam at the mouth and jump up and down and scream and threaten to hold his breath until he turns a bluish shade of orange, then the call goes out for Ivanka. She dutifully shows up in the Oval Office with a tape, (“never a DVD,” her father reminds her,) of the famous Disney full length animated feature about a mermaid who becomes a princess. She puts it on the big screen television and sits on her Daddy’s lap and they watch the movie together, in what is the most touching Presidential family scene since the Kennedy’s played touch football.
(Gerald Weaver is the author of the novel, The First First Gentleman, London Wall Publishing. It is among other things a sly tribute to almost all the novels of Charles Dickens. His well-received first novel, Gospel Prism, was published in May 2015. Each of its twelve chapters paraphrases a great work, by Cervantes, Montaigne, Shakespeare, etc. Harold Bloom said it was “remarkable” and “charming but disturbing.” Perhaps the same could be said of this satire.)