Michael Wolff is playing the victim. The author of Fire and Fury put his huge ego on display Thursday in a series of events that once again raise fresh questions about how much we should believe of his questionably sourced book that many have embraced because it seems to prove the worst about President Donald Trump’s administration.
The latest chapter in what seems to be a book tour designed to make people question Wolff’s credibility began Thursday morning when he appeared on Morning Joe. The conversation quickly turned to how Wolff recently encouraged readers to find hints of an affair in his book. People immediately decided it had to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. That led Haley to issue a strong denial to Politico, calling the allegations “disgusting.”
In an interview with theSkimm, Wolff even questioned whether Haley’s apparent anger over the allegations was genuine. “Or she seems to me—I would say she seems to have embraced it,” Wolff said when he was confronted by the fact that Haley was “distraught” over the rumors. Wolff continued, “Well, I don’t know. All she does is hammer on this fact. I mean, if I were being accused of something, and I am not accusing her of anything. She hasn’t tried to avoid this, let’s say.”
On Thursday morning, Wolff acted shocked that anyone would suggest he had tried to tie Haley to Trump. “I did not go after her and what I meant was, I found it puzzling she would deny something she was not accused of,” Wolff said. Mika Brzezinski pushed the issue and asked whether he regretted “inferring anything” about Haley. Wolff strongly denied he had done so. “I did not infer anything about Nikki Haley,” Wolff said.
That answer was a bit much for Brzezinski. “Michael, you said she has embraced it,” she said. “You might be having a fun time playing a little game, dancing around this, but you’re slurring a woman. It’s disgraceful.” Wolff again acted shocked: “She has decided to deny what she has not been accused of. I certainly did not accuse her of this. Read me the language.” And that’s when Brzezinski decided she had enough. “Are you kidding?” Brzezinski asked. “You’re on the set of Morning Joe. We don’t BS here. I’m not reading anything.” Brzezinski then proceeded to kick him out of the show: “This is awkward, you’re on the set here, but we’re done.”
Wolff then ran to Twitter to express his grievances. And what did he say? “My bad, the President is right about Mika.” That, of course, was in reference to how Trump called her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” in a tweetstorm that also claimed she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
Wolff then proceeded to play the victim saying he was “invited on a show with the purpose of being thrown off.” And then said as a form of defense that last time he was on the show, “off camera Joe and Mika eager to gossip about who Trump might be sleeping with.” He later added that they were big gossips: “it really would be hard to gossip more eagerly off camera than Mika and Joe gossip.” That raised a few eyebrows considering that it sounded like Wolff was comparing off-camera gossip with what is said on the record. As the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple points out:
Mr. Wolff: Brzezinski and her co-host Joe Scarborough are entitled to gossip about all kinds of things off camera. It may not be as noble as engaging about the implications for Obamacare of killing the individual mandate, but people gossip. And as long as they don’t, like, uncork that gossip on HBO for the whole world to sample, then that’s just fine.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus