Michael Wolff on His Latest Trump Book “There Was No Plan. He Is Deranged”
During the reporting of his latest book on the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff says he got an invitation to meet the former president at Mar-a-Lago. In an interview, he tells DER SPIEGEL what ensued.
Interview Conducted By Marc Pitzke
Jul 12, 2021
“Let’s sit in the garden,” says Michael Wolff. The 67-year-old journalist and author usually lives in New York City’s Greenwich Village, in an old, book-filled townhouse. But today, he has invited DER SPIEGEL to the Hamptons, the wealthy enclave at the eastern tip of Long Island. Wolff owns a modest (by comparison) white colonial summer home here, hidden behind tall hedges.
Birds sing in the jasmine-scented air as Wolff serves fresh coffee and sits down at a wooden picnic table.
His books “Fire and Fury” (2018) and “Siege: Trump under Fire” (2019) were full of sensational insider gossip about Donald Trump, whom Wolff describes as more or less imbecilic, and the chaos in his White House. They set off a furor and were translated into dozens of languages. One of Wolff’s most important sources was Steve Bannon, who was let go as Trump’s chief advisor.
Wollf insists that he really wanted to write about something completely different next. Then Jan. 6 happened.
His third book about the 45th U.S. president is being published in the U.S. on July 13: “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency.”
DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Wolff, you have already written two books about Donald Trump and he’s threatened to sue you for libel. Nevertheless, he spoke to you, for a long time, for your new book. How on earth did that happen?
Michael Wolff: The last thing I wanted to write is another Trump book. But the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the whole post-election lie – that’s such an outrageous story, how can you not tell it? So, I began to make a few calls to some people around the former president, and one of those people told him. Then they called and asked if I wanted to meet him.
DER SPIEGEL: How do you explain that?
Wolff: Trump told his people that guy – me – gets big ratings, so let’s see him. For Trump the goal is almost entirely the media attention. Good, bad, indifferent, doesn’t matter. I’m not the only author he has seen, but I would assume that I’m the most disliked author that he’s seen. But that doesn’t play into his conception of the world. It’s not like or dislike. It’s not right or wrong. It’s what can you do for me? It’s just about answering his needs, desires and inclinations in the moment. So, here’s a guy, he sells a lot of books, why not? And it’s not as if you’re going there and actually having an exchange.
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