Excerpts from an explosive tell-all book about Donald Trump’s reluctant road to the presidency have hit the internet, alleging behind-the-scenes chaos in the White House, Melania’s tearful acceptance of her new role — and Ivanka’s plans to be the first female president.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by political writer Michael Wolff hits stores Jan. 9 but on Wednesday, New York magazine published a juicy preview titled “Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President.”
The book, published by Henry Holt, is based on more than 200 interviews done over an 18-month period, from Election Day 2016 to October 2017, with White House senior staff members who allowed Wolff to assume “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing — an idea encouraged by the president himself.”
On Election Day, when polls indicated he might win, Wolff paints the president as shell-shocked and “looked as if he had seen a ghost,” while “Melania was in tears — and not of joy.” Wolff also delved into the relationship between Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, “one of the world’s most powerful men” who he said took advantage of the administration’s disorganization to push through his personal agenda.
But one of the more surprising revelations concerned Ivanka’s political aspirations.
“Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew,” wrote Wolff. “It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.”
Wolff continued, “Bannon, who had coined the term ‘Jarvanka’ that was now in ever greater use in the White House, was horrified when the couple’s deal was reported to him. “They didn’t say that?” he said. “Stop. Oh, come on. They didn’t actually say that? Please don’t tell me that. Oh my God.”
On Wednesday, the White House dismissed the book.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” The president said in a statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican Party.”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said, “This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House. Participating in a book that can only be described as trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy.”
And Melania’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, added, “The book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section. Mrs. Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for president and in fact encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did.”
Twitter reacted to Ivanka’s reported political aspirations with disbelief.
Ivanka, president? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA good one. April Fools came early this year.
Ivanka Trump Planned to Become First Female President https://t.co/XJq3xMnxjn
— Kenneth Cole (@infosec202) January 4, 2018
Report: Ivanka wants to be President.
My eyes just rolled so far back, I think they're stuck inside my head.
— Mark Pantano (@TheMarkPantano) January 4, 2018
Hey, @IvankaTrump plans to be the first woman president. AHAHA! Oh, dahling, you need a brain first. The future is female but please!!!!!
— Josh Hayden (@JoshHaydenJH) January 4, 2018
Let's be clear: Ivanka Trump will never be President, let alone the first female President.
— Mike George (@georgmike19) January 4, 2018
Ivanka’s role at the White House has been vague. In April, during an interview with CBS News, she referred to her position as “assistant to the president,” as a “very unique and unprecedented situation.”
“So I hope to make a positive impact. … I hope time will prove that I have done a good job, and much more importantly that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be,” she said.
A few months later, during an interview with Fox & Friends, when answering a question about the president’s tendency to tweet, she said, “I try to stay out of politics.” During the conversation, she also remarked “I leave the politics to other people,” and “I don’t profess to be a political savant.”
However, Ivanka has raised questions about her role in various ways, pictured by her father’s side so often that the press began referring to her as the “surrogate first lady.”
She reportedly tried to influence her father on climate change policy (although she’s called the prospect “unrealistic”). And she posed for a February photo sitting at her father’s desk flanked by him and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table!” she tweeted.
A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table! pic.twitter.com/AtiSiOoho0
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 13, 2017
In July, when Ivanka briefly sat in for the president at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, it caused an uproar on social media. However, a White House official dismissed the backlash by saying, “Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the president had to step out, and the president of the World Bank started talking as the topic involved areas such as African development — areas that will benefit from the facility just announced by the World Bank.”
With more time and gumption, could Ivanka become the country’s first woman president who also happens to be Jewish?
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