Kushner comes throughout on this account as maybe the saddest determine of all: a hapless schemer. Wolff says that Kushner didn’t cross the regular safety clearances, and was granted a reprieve solely when Trump intervened (calling this assertion “a fact baldly denied by Kushner and his wife”). The Kushner household’s byzantine actual property troubles have been, Wolff says, mysteriously solved as soon as a Toronto-based funding agency that labored with a variety of sovereign wealth funds stepped in to bail Kushner out. Wolff has Kushner petitioning Henry Kissinger for his recommendation on worldwide affairs, even floating the suggestion of Kissinger as Trump’s secretary of state quickly after the 2016 election; at the time, Kissinger was already 94 years previous.
Wolff says that Kushner represents “liberal globalism,” although he doesn’t provide a lot to again it up, as an alternative repeating Bannon’s pet concept that Kushner’s habits reveals how obviously hypocritical the “true and deeply self-interested face of liberal globalism” truly was. Against this, Bannon positions his personal “party of the peasants,” with their “peasant honesty, peasant wisdom and peasant loyalty,” prompting Wolff to make what’s both a deeply ironic or inadvertently hilarious comparability of Bannon to Tolstoy.
The political evaluation on this guide is near nil, however that’s by design. “The heart of this book,” Wolff says, is the expertise of the Trump presidency: “an emotional state rather than a political state.” Policies, decision-making, something that requires even a minimal quantity of consideration to element — that occurs, as a lot as attainable, with out Trump, Wolff says. The president’s workers sees it as their job to maintain him in his “bubble,” munching sweet bars at night time and getting his ego stroked in marathon cellphone calls with the Fox News host Sean Hannity. On good days, Wolff writes, the president arrives late to the workplace and is whisked via a sequence of staged, anodyne conferences to maintain him busy: “A distracted Trump was a happy Trump.”
Bannon, in the meantime, even having left the White House in 2017, clearly maintains some connections to it, gleefully watching the chaos from the sidelines and showing earlier than the particular counsel 5 occasions — or probably eight, Wolff says, in accordance with some whispers from “Bannon enemies.” Bannon appears snug expressing contempt for just about everybody — not least the president he helped elect into workplace. (Though Bannon does declare a measure of respect for Vladimir V. Putin — “a badass” — and, in what is perhaps the most really stunning flip in the guide, Nancy Pelosi, for disinviting Trump from delivering the State of the Union in January and thereby insulting him in the language he most viscerally understands: humiliation. “She crushed this [expletive],” Bannon marvels.)
“Siege” reads like a 300-page taunt of the president — from Wolff or from Bannon, although they appear to have arrived at the form of collaboration through which the distinction doesn’t actually matter. In the afterword to the paperback version of “Fire and Fury,” Wolff bragged about how he “did an end run around the system, catching the journalism apparatus as well as the White House unawares,” deriding the “journalism bureaucracy” for placing a lot inventory in such niceties as confidentiality and integrity.
So now Wolff will get one other possible finest vendor, and Bannon, who boasts about speaking with Trump via the media, will get to indicate the president who’s actually boss. “Bannon believed he was the man of populist destiny and not Donald Trump,” Wolff writes, with Bannon even entertaining the thought of being a presidential contender in 2020. Bannon would possibly wax sentimental about the nation’s white working class — whom he lovingly calls “deplorables” — however he treats them as endlessly credulous, riling them up with tales about immigrant caravans and the boons of a commerce battle whereas providing them nothing extra concrete than the fireworks show of watching the institution burn.
Wolff describes Bannon staying in a $four,500-a-night lodge suite in London — not fairly the typical peasant digs, however Bannon thinks like a hedge fund man whilst he rails towards them. By the identical token, Trump’s misfortune would possibly effectively become Bannon’s alternative. As Bannon tells Wolff, in a rambling, five-page monologue: “I’ll cover myself on the downside.”