In the span of one day, Michael Wolff’s bombshell book about President Donald Trump and his administration, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, moved 48,448 positions up on Amazon’s best-seller list to reach the no. 1 spot. As of 10:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, it has retained its status. (The book is still in pre-order stages; it will be released on Jan. 9.)
The shocking ascension of the book, which Wolff said marks a culmination of a year of speaking with Donald Trump allies and family on a regular basis, was a result of details slowly trickling out on Wednesday morning. First, citing a copy obtained at an unnamed bookstore in New England, The Guardian reported the book quoted Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, as claiming Donald Trump, Jr. was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous” for meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign.
Trump responded intensely in an official presidential statement, saying Bannon had “lost his mind” when he exited his White House post. The president subsequently threatened legal action against Bannon for defamation as well as allegedly violating a non-disclosure agreement.
The book’s robust standing at no. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list is particularly impressive and noteworthy since it primarily consists of commercial paperbacks and popular hardcover fiction. No other work of political analysis or reporting ranks in the top 50, as of 10:00 a.m. EST on Thursday.
Henry Holt and Co., the publisher, ramped up its rollout in the wake of the Guardian leak, at which point details of the book continued to surface online. It was reported later on Wednesday that Fire and Fury also included claims that Trump was “befuddled” by his election victory in November 2016, that political ally Rupert Murdoch once called Trump a “f—ing idiot,” and that Melania Trump cried when her husband was elected president. (The First Lady and the White House both denied the latter allegation, which was first revealed in an excerpt printed by New York Magazine.)
Wolff also published an excerpt in the Hollywood Reporter, where he is a columnist, on Thursday morning, claiming the president’s staff believes Trump is “incapable of functioning in his job.”
Despite White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ efforts to downplay the book as “trashy tabloid fiction,” the scandal of Fire and Fury’s contents continues to intensify. On Thursday morning, Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey revealed that Trump’s lawyers have “demanded” an apology from Wolff as well as a halt on publication.