The media can’t stop talking about the many explosive, embarrassing, and downright hilarious claims in tabloid journalist Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House—especially now that they know Trump doesn’t want them to be talking about it.
Wolff’s ridiculous book, accurate or not, is a Trump-satirist goldmine. Shiny little nuggets include: Trump having three TV screens installed in his bedroom so he can watch more television; Trump wanting to be in bed by 6:30pm with a cheeseburger each night; almost everyone in the White House thinking Trump is a moron; the notion that Trump likes to have sex with his friends’ wives; and of course, the fact (possibly the only verifiable one) that Bannon called Ivanka “dumb as a brick” and a labeled a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and some Russian figures “treasonous.”
So where did late night decide to go with this insane collection of tidbits?
On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel found Trump’s outrage particularly delicious. In one of his regular (ignore-the-) press conferences, Trump looked particularly pained as reporters yelled out questions about the book. “Look at that face,” said Kimmel. “It’s like an orangutan sucking on a lemon.”
Kimmel pointed out that Trump’s anger at the book reinforced the idea of the Streisand Effect, whereby one’s efforts to suppress a particular piece of information has the inverse result: We want to read it simply because Trump doesn’t want us to. In fact, Kimmel wasn’t even planning to buy the book until Trump’s lawyers sent the publisher a cease-and desist-letter. But now, Kimmel’s buying 20 copies. “I can’t buy enough of these books … I’m going to walk up and down my block stuffing books into my neighbors’ mailboxes!”
“Threatening the writer with legal action is literally the dumbest thing you can do if you want it stay on the down low,” he added. “The book went from No. 48,000 on Amazon straight to No. 1.” But it’s not just calling attention to the book by demanding it be cancelled that’s moronic. Kimmel can’t believe the White House was stupid enough to let Michael Wolff—a man who tore shreds off Rupert Murdoch in an earlier book—into the building in the first place.
The whole episode is so insanely idiotic that Kimmel wonders if Trump might be in on it. “Unless, maybe, Donald Trump really is the great business man he says he is and he’s getting a cut,” he suggested. “Maybe he helped write Fire and Fury. Or more likely he’s just dumb.”
Over at The Daily Show, Trevor Noah found joy in the little things in life. Like the book’s claim that Trump eats so much fast food because of a long-held fear of being poisoned (because fast food is pre-made and no one knows he’s coming). Or the claim that Trump likes to be in bed by 6:30pm with a cheeseburger and three TV screens. Or the fact that many on Team Trump were actually devastated on election night when he won. “Both campaigns were crying on election night,” joked Noah.
But Noah had his own thoughts on Trump’s reaction to the book. Rather than trying to shut it down, Trump should be sending a copy to Bob Mueller, because it proves that his campaign didn’t really want to win—so why would they have bothered colluding?
Some of the claims in Wolff’s book are incredibly questionable, and the White House may even be somewhat justified in calling it fraudulent. But Noah has no sympathy for the house that cried wolf. Fire and Fury’s exaggerated claims are what make it “the perfect scandal for this White House,” he said. “Bizarre, unverified, fraudulent claims. This is the world that Trump promotes. Millions of illegal votes. Obama born in Kenya. Someone who tweeted ‘check out sex tape’ can’t complain about tabloid gossip.”
“You made your bed,” he smiled. “Now eat your cheeseburger in it.”
Colbert, meanwhile, was “dizzy from the stupid” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Colbert zeroed in on the Bannon factor, and his titillating description of the Don Jr./Kushner/Manafort meeting as “treasonous.” It came with a strange new sensation for Colbert. “What is that? I agree with Steve Bannon? That old gypsy was right.”
Trump has since been dismissive of Bannon’s claim and his authority, but Colbert wasn’t about to let Trump get away with distancing himself from the man who called his daughter “dumb as a brick.” “He has absolutely no influence over me,” said Colbert in his Trump voice. “Other than being my chief political strategist and convincing me to support an accused child molester for Senate.” The White House has called everything in the book a lie, as well as accusing Bannon of disclosing confidential information. But as Colbert points out, it can’t be both.
Colbert was also fascinated by Trump’s bedroom habits, especially by the revelation that Donald and Melania have separate bedrooms, the first First Couple to do so John and Jackie Kennedy. “Trump has had just as much sex as JFK … has had in the last year,” he joked.