Kellyanne Conway was reportedly so exasperated by President Donald Trump’s antics that it drove her to hold a finger-gun to her head, according to the author of an explosive new book detailing Trump’s chaotic and “insane” White House.
In an extracted column for The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Wolff — who wrote the upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, out Jan. 9 — sheds light on top staffers’ private frustration over the president’s erratic behavior and often inflammatory comments.
Wolff writes that Conway “would put a finger-gun to her head in private about Trump’s public comments,” but nevertheless “continued to mount an implacable defense on cable television.”
Though the president “enjoyed” Conway and her public efforts to defend him, according to Wolff, others in the White House “found her militancy idiotic” and ultimately pulled her away from her regular TV appearances.
“Even Ivanka [Trump] and Jared [Kushner] regarded Conway’s fulsome defenses as cringeworthy,” Wolff says.
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And then there was Sean Spicer, the president’s headline-making former press secretary, who discovered his new personal mantra after his very first briefing, when he was called to defend Trump’s inaugural crowd numbers: “You can’t make this s–t up.”
According to Wolff, Spicer lived each day in the White House like it would be his last, just waiting for his inevitable firing. (Spicer ended up resigning on July 21, after telling Trump he strongly disagreed with Anthony Scaramucci’s recent appointment as communications director, The New York Times reported at the time.)
The president’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, also predicted he wouldn’t survive the Trump White House.
“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment in November, [he] started to think he would not last until the inauguration,” Wolff writes. “Then, making it to the White House, he hoped he could last a respectable year, but he quickly scaled back his goal to six months.”
“Priebus, everybody’s punching bag, just tried to survive another day,” Wolff later added.
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By the spring, the tension that marked Trump’s White House from the start spilled over into the halls and the Oval Office, where staffers turned on each other in “screaming fights.”
That’s when Trump “was not the one screaming himself,” Wolff adds.
Indeed, it seems Trump’s own frustrations topped even those of his tortured staffers.
The president, Wolff says, “veered between a kind of blissed-out pleasure of being in the Oval Office and a deep, childish frustration that he couldn’t have what he wanted … be that a hamburger, a segment on Fox & Friends or an Oval Office photo opp.”
“I want a win. I want a win. Where’s my win?” Trump would regularly say — prompting a similar, repeated response from almost every member of the senior staff: The president, they said, is “like a child.”