When you hear the name Michael Wolff, you might remember that the journalist published two books about Donald Trump’s presidency, Fire and Fury and Siege, which Trump threatened to sue him over. Wolff recently came out with a third book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, that details the end of Trump’s time in office. Trump, perhaps surprisingly, sat down with Wolff to be interviewed for the last book in the series on himself, some of which has been excerpted by Axios. According to Wolff, the two talked about a number of hot topics including how Trump feels about the Supreme Court justices who got on the bench during his presidency and how Trump believes his fanbase feels at this point. Wolff, as is his trademark, includes plenty of analysis.
If you're wondering why Trump would agree to be interviewed by someone he threatened to sue, the writer offers up an explanation. Wolff hypothesized that for Trump, it’s all about ratings, and while Wolff isn’t the only author Trump has sat down with, he suggested to his team that he realizes Wolff is an author who gets big attention. This logic tracks well with what we know about Trump and his absolute thirst and obsession for coverage. And the content of said interview? Let’s check out what we know so far below—including which Supreme Court justice Trump is particularly disappointed with.
According to Wolff’s account, Trump, while being interviewed at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida (of course), expressed a deep sense of betrayal when it came to all three justices he nominated to the court—but he expressed notable disdain for Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump nominated back in July 2018. Now, most of us can express a good bit of disdain for Kavanaugh’s beliefs (and, too, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett’s) but Trump’s issue with Kavanaugh rests, in Trump’s words as reported by Wolff, with his lack of “courage.”
“In retrospect,” Wolff writes that Trump told him, “he just hasn't had the courage you need to be a great justice. I’m basing this on more than just the election." Trump reportedly told Wolff he was “disappointed” in Kavanaugh’s rulings and recalled that “practically” every senator called him and encouraged him to cut Kavanaugh “loose” during the confirmation hearings.
Still, according to Wolff, Trump acknowledged he refused to let Kavanaugh go, and in spite of having “plenty of time to pick somebody else” he “fought like hell” to keep him. In the end, as we know, Kavanaugh didn’t overturn the election results, which is likely why Trump feels so disappointed and betrayed.
"Where would he be without me?” Trump reportedly said. “I saved his life. He wouldn't even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced. Only I saved him." Wolff characterizes Trump as having "particular bile" for Kavanaugh, a reading which certainly comes through via excerpts.
Wolff reports that out of Trump’s family and the White House staff, only Rudy Giuliani took Trump’s insistence that he actually won the election seriously.
Wolff also writes that before the election, Trump was negotiating to move his social media presence from Twitter to the far-right site Parler. “In return,” Wolff writes, “Trump would receive 40 percent of Parler’s gross revenues, and the service would ban anyone who spoke negatively of him.” According to Wolff, Parler was “balking” at just that “last condition.”
According to Wolff, Trump says his fans are feeling “cheated” and “angry.” Wolff, controversially, suggests that Trump wasn’t truly responsible for the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, arguing there was no plan and that Trump is “deranged.” On Trump, Wolff said: “The guy can’t get from the beginning of the sentence to the end of a sentence.” Now, that might be an accurate description of Trump, but that doesn’t mean he can wash his hands from what his supporters did in his name.