RUSH: On the Today Show today, Savannah Guthrie, who, by the way… Here’s another thing: When they announced that Matt Lauer has been fired for sexual harassment, all these people on the Today Show said (sobbing), “Oh, my God! Oh ho! Oh, I feel so bad! Oh, I didn’t know!” They all knew. They probably all knew that Bannon was the leaker. They all knew about Matt Lauer. They are acting like, “Oh my God, it’s such a shock! We didn’t know.” He had a button in his office that locked the door from the inside from the desk!
Anyway, Savannah Guthrie was interviewing the author of the book, Michael Wolff — the book Fire and Fury — and we have some sound bites here. And this is where it kicks into gear that Trump is moronic, illiterate, incurious, insane, unfit, and that virtually 100% of the people that work with him know this. That’s where all this got started today. So Savannah Guthrie says, “Let’s talk about the book itself. One of the overarching themes in your book is that everybody around the president — senior advisers, family members, every single one of them — questions his intelligence and his fitness for office.”
WOLFF: (halting) Let me put a — a marker in the sand here, 100% of the people around him — the one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common — they all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him. I mean, this letter for, um… The cease-and-desist letter. I mean, still have sources in the White House, and I know everybody was going, “We should not be doing this, this is not smart,” and he just insists.
RUSH: Well, about that, let me once again pose a question. What if they had not reacted? Forget the cease and desist. I mean, that’s just the way they chose to do it. What if they chose not to react to it? What if 36 hours later nobody in the White House or Trump had said a thing about the book? I guarantee you that everybody in the Drive-By Media would be saying, “Hey, it must be true. He’s not denying it! Hey, hey, Wolff may have stumbled into something. They’re not denying it. Trump usually reacts. He’s not reacting.”
You know, folks, how many times over the course of the many, many broadcast years here have I explained to you the dilemma that public figures face when they’re slandered, when they’re libeled? There is no one set rule of thumb on what to do. There are as many different theories as there are advisers. Should you respond or not? In some cases, the answer is, “No. Don’t respond, because all you’re gonna do is elevate it, and people that otherwise would never know about it are gonna hear about it.”
Well, that’s not operative in this case because everybody in the Drive-By Media is talking about it. So Trump reacting to it is not gonna elevate it; it’s already elevated. So the other rule of thumb is, “You can’t let them get away with saying that about you. You can’t let that stick. You have got to fight back on this.” Well, the reaction to that is, “Okay. Fine. But when I fight back, you know what they’re gonna say? They’re gonna go, ‘Oh, wow! We must have hit pay dirt! We got him upset! He’s reacting to us!'”
And so when you boil it all down, on balance it doesn’t seem like there is a good way to react to this kind of thing, because there are downsides no matter how you choose to react. So you plug Trump into this, and what do you get? I don’t think you get somebody who analyzes it like I just did. We had Trump on this program during the campaign. And at the time, everybody was up in arms about Trump tweeting and Trump not letting criticism roll off his back, that no matter what somebody said, he had to respond. You know, some people thought it was childish.
And I asked him about it. I said, “Why do you respond to every little bit of criticism?” He said, “When they attack me or my family, I’m going to hit back. You hit me; I hit back. I’m not gonna let what they say stand unchallenged.” Okay. So the Wolff book hits, and I don’t think Trump assembles a bunch of people and they start strategizing in philosophical ways. I think Trump’s got a plan, he has a belief, he has a policy: he gets hit; he hits back. Trump is also very litigious. Over the course of his life, Trump has sued a lot of people.
It’s a technique. It’s not uncommon. So for Trump to he will it his lawyers, “Send a cease-and-desist letter,” these people are assuming that Trump’s an idiot ’cause he should know that that isn’t gonna work. No judge is gonna stop the book. Well, why do people assume Trump is so stupid he doesn’t know that? Maybe he’s doing this for an entirely different reason. He knows he’s not gonna stop the publication of the book. But yet he wants to have it on record that he thinks it’s crazy, BS, and not true.
And look what’s happened. The author of the book has now said, “Well, yeah, some of it may not be true.” The author of the book is saying, “I said whatever I had to to get my story.” The author of the book has admitted that he tricked people in the White House! They thought they weren’t on the record. You think the author of the book would have admitted, “Well, you know, I can’t guarantee all of it’s true” if Trump hadn’t said anything? Now, this business of being childlike?
I maintain to you that this is nothing more than people in Washington who are more alike than you would ever believe. And one of the ways in which they’re alike, they think they are super adults. They think they are the epitome of morality and maturity. They think that they define refinement and sophistication and propriety and all these things. As such, I don’t think they’re capable of understanding somebody like Donald Trump. This allegation that he’s childlike and demands affection, demands praise, demands to be…?
What did he say here? “Need for immediate gratification.” You know, I could just as easily say that about Barack Obama. If there was somebody who needed adulation, needed people thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room, needed people fawning all over him at press conferences, it was Barack Obama. You telling me that Trump expects to be loved and liked when he’s out there calling these people fake media, fake news?
Is that how you go about being immediately gratified? Normally you suck up to people when you want immediate gratification. Normally you want flattery when you want immediate gratification, when you want praise. Trump is not seeking praise from these people. He’s declared war on them! They have a personality type they don’t understand and can’t understand.
You know what’s obvious, folks? Every day I become aware of a lifetime of naivete that I’ve carried around. I’m not afraid to admit it. Every day. I’m gonna 67 years old pretty soon, and I am still naive in ways that I didn’t think I would ever be. I thought by this time I would understand it all, I would know the ways of the world. But I have lived under an obvious misconception and misunderstanding my whole life about Washington, D.C., and the people there.
I understand there’s liberals and conservatives there, but I have believed that the Constitution rules and that the American people are respected. I know people joke about various aspects – we call ’em low-information voters. But I’m talking about in terms of structure and respect. I wasn’t aware until a couple years ago just how much Washington, D.C., resents the people of this country. I wasn’t aware of how strident the dislike for average, ordinary Americans, your average Washington establishment person carries around.
I have always believed — and this is big time naivete — I’ve always believed that succeeding in something garnered respect for the person that succeeded. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can make it personal in illustrating this if I wanted to. But this is just the way I always felt the world worked. I thought somebody comes along, whatever they do, lay bricks or tell the news on TV or doctors or what have you, I thought when you succeeded, when you reached the pinnacle in your profession, that there was respect for it.
So I always assumed that power brokers in Washington would be dazzled by somebody from outside who figured out a way to win. I thought there’d be some modicum of respect for it. I thought there’d be some modicum, some level of appreciation for the achievement. I guess that’s what it is. There isn’t any. There is resentment at the achievement. If you are not in the group and you achieve something that the group does, you become a threat. Well, you’re not respected. Let’s put it that way.
And Trump epitomizes this. Trump has come in and in less than a year done things that the official people in Washington have led us to believe can’t be done anymore. Trump has survived every effort that literally thousands of people in Washington have engaged in to destroy him. Donald Trump has survived an array of power projected against him unlike anything we have of seen. These people guarding their little fiefdom have literally launched everything they’ve got, including lies and subterfuge and fake, phony, lying media. They have done it all. And he has run rings around them simply by surviving. Then you add triumphing and succeeding.
And they say he is childlike? Who is it that is behaving here like immature, spoiled brats? People who are witnessing their life’s work being implemented as policy, who are acting like babies in a crib (crying): “He doesn’t have the right to believe what I believe.” They’re crying and they’re panicking. I always thought these people really meant in their hearts, when I’m young and I’m reading about all these great conservatives and what they believe in and I’m learning from, I thought they really believed it.
Now here it is being implemented, and they hate it! And they’re trying to stop it. They’re trying to stop the very implementation of the things they believe in. Why? Because the guy doing it is not one of them offends them? Who is it that’s childlike and immature? Who is it that we’re learning can’t extend the hand of friendship and cross the aisle? Who is it that cannot act grown-up and mature and deal with a reality that they cannot deny? And yet it’s Trump who’s childlike, and it’s Trump who is in need of immediate gratification? It’s Trump making it all about him? I mean, it’s the exact opposite.
I think with these people in the establishment, it’s all personal. They’re personally affronted. They’re personally offended. And so they lash out at Trump, and they’re hopelessly incapable of understanding who he is and how he operates because they have no connection with real people in this country anymore. They have isolated themselves, and they’ve built a moat around that town, essentially. They control admittance. And they have not only lost touch with the people I maintain make this country work, they have an open disdain for them now, for us. All on the basis of class. Ruling class, working class.
Yeah, yeah. I know. Angelo Codevilla wrote all about that. Ruling Class. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But each and every day I find out just how wrong I was when I was assuming certain positive things about people who live and work in Washington. It’s a tough thing to admit that I’ve been this naive, but at least the learning never stops. Look, and that’s just one sound bite from Wolff. We got a couple more here, all on the theme that Trump is an idiot, that he can’t read, that he’s not curious, he’s not interested in reading, he’s not interested in learning, he’s childish. Now he’s unfit. Now he’s demented, he’s insane. Now we need to have some psychiatrists examine him from afar, hopefully be able to get rid of him via the 25th Amendment.
This is the reaction of people not in charge. These are people that have lost touch. They’ve lost their grip. Because Trump is threatening the little fiefdom they’ve created. They’ve set it up so that they’re the experts and nobody else can possibly understand what they’re doing or do it. And in less than a year, Trump has come in and run rings around them, and that poses such a big threat, he’s got to go. Everybody’s learning that these people don’t wear underwear. Once you lift the dress, they’re all naked and nude under there.
RUSH: They say that Trump doesn’t read and Trump’s stupid, Trump’s dumb, Trump doesn’t read. Do you all remember George W. Bush and Karl Rove had a reading contest every year to see who could read the more books between the two? I think it was in 2005. Rove won. He read 110 books. Bush read 95. Okay.
What’d they say about George W. Bush? Stupid, idiot, dumb, cowboy, chimpanzee, what have you. They insulted Bush. He was an idiot, right? He lied, he was dumb and stupid. And he read 95 books in 2005. And now they say Donald Trump doesn’t read at all. What is he? Stupid and dumb. Who is it that’s stupid and dumb that can’t come up with something new as a criticism of somebody?
RUSH: Now, a couple of more sound bites from Wolff, the author of this book, which is called Fire and Fury. We’re up here to audio sound bite number nine. Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show today said, “You said that these senior people insult Trump’s intelligence, meaning they say he’s an idiot and he’s stupid. What are the kind of things these people are saying, Mr. Wolff?
WOLFF: They see he’s, um… a moron, a (sic) idiot. What’s wrong… This man does not read, does not listen. So he’s like, um… a pinball just shooting off the side that used to be that in the beginning it was, like, every 25 or 30 minutes you would get the same three stories repeated. Now it’s the same three stories in every 10 minutes.
GUTHRIE: And what’s the suggestion there? Because that goes beyond saying, “Okay, the president’s not an intellectual.” What are you arguing there? You saying, for example, that he was at Mar-a-Lago and didn’t recognize lifelong friends?
WOLFF: Uhhh, I — I — I will quote Steve Bannon: “He’s lost it.”
RUSH: Well! Well! There we go. We’ll quote Steve Bannon. “He’s lost it.” Hey, let’s take this: “He’s a moron, an idiot, the man does not read and does not listen.” I want to remind you 2005 we were informed by Karl Rove that he and George W. Bush had a reading contest to see who could read the most books. Rove won it. In a year, Rove read 115, Bush read 95. What’d they say about Bush? Stupid, dumb, moron, cowboy. Bush was reading rings around the Drive-By Media.
Bush was more educated, more informed than anybody in the press corps covering him. What’d they say? They insulted his intelligence all the time. They told us, “This is a cowboy,” made fun of the way he spoke. I give you Will Ferrell’s impersonation of Bush. The portrayed him as the biggest idiot, which is what the media and Democrats do with every Republican president. Ronald Reagan? Dunce, stupid, idiot, sleeping all the time, didn’t know what’s going on his administration. Trump, same thing. George W. Bush, too.
It never changes, folks. They have the same litany of criticism. “Does not listen.” I have been with Donald Trump quite a bit. I’m not in any way part of Donald Trump’s inner circle, in anything, and I don’t want to be misunderstood as saying that I am. But I’ve been with him a lot. I have played a couple rounds of golf with Donald Trump. I’ve been with Donald Trump at the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.
I spent four hours with Donald Trump in March at the White House, including dinner. And I can tell you that he’s none of these things that they’re saying. What he is, is domineering. What he is, is sure of himself. I’ll give you one anecdote here. Maybe I can think of more. We’re on the golf course. It’s at his course here at Trump International. It’s the second or third hole. This is seven, eight years ago, sometime in Barack Obama’s first term.
He looks at me, we’re in the golf cart. “Tell me about Obama. Is he really a bad guy? Do you think he’s a bad guy?”
Okay, now, I’m asking myself, “Should I answer this or am I being set up? What’s going on here?” This has come out of the blue. He was genuinely curious what I thought. I said, “Yeah. I think in a policy sense, bad guy. I don’t know him, Mr. Trump. I don’t know if he’s a bad, bad guy, but I’m saying politically, yeah, bad guy.”
“I’ve heard that. I’ve heard that. Heard he’s a bad guy.” And then he started talking about something entirely different. Now, did he not listen to me? Did he not hear what I said? Did he just ask me this for some reason that I don’t know? He was fully engaged. He never told me what he thought of Obama. He said, “Why’d you leave New York?”
I said, “Taxes.” I told him how much it was costing me every year in taxes. He said, “You know, a lot of my friends are leaving, a lot of my friends are leaving.” I don’t think that that was true. I think that was Trump just being nice and affirmative with my decision. But it doesn’t matter.
But he still engaged me. And the whole round, you know, he’d see the CEO of Macy’s on the next fairway and he’d drive over there and introduce me to the next CEO of Macy’s, saying, “Look, this guy, if you ever need, if you run into trouble, need a couple million in advertising, just call him, he’ll have it for you. You ever hit hard times, call him.” I’m just sitting there soaking this stuff in.
Another guy, “See that guy over there? Richest man in Italy. And whose club does he want to join? Mine. Richest man in Italy.” You just laugh. The guy has boundless energy. He likes himself very much. He’s very proud of the things that he’s built. But to all of me, these things are very likable. None of it was off-putting.
At the dinner at the White House, there were really pretty in-depth discussions about the repeal and replace Obamacare bill that was happening. I watched him change 15, 16 “no” votes to “yes” votes, members of the House in a room off the White House. It was not staged. I mean, the timing there was coincidental.
I don’t know whether he reads or not, but the guy is not uninformed. He’s not uneducated. I just don’t think people who are not like him and don’t inhabit his world can ever understand him. I don’t think they can get past the resentment they have that he has dared to enter their world.
I ran across something today. There’s a website called Intellectual Takeout, and it’s run by a guy named Devin Foley, who is, interestingly, a graduate at Hillsdale College. And his blog or website post today, “Trump vs. Bannon: Have You Ever Met a Billionaire?” And he makes the point that billionaires are — and Trump is one — that billionaires are an entirely different kind of person.
He makes this analogy. A guy who has five million or $10 million will think that the government’s gonna come take it away, that something’s gonna happen, he’s gonna lose it. He says the guy who has $500 million thinks the same thing. More often than not, somebody with $250 million, 30 million, whatever, five million, 10 million, they have this thing in common that somehow a government policy or change is going to come and take it all away from.
He said there’s not a billionaire in the world he’s met that thinks this. There’s not a single billionaire he has met who has any fear whatsoever of losing it. But that’s not the total argument or point that he makes. He says: The vast majority of people, especially those in politics and media, are never gonna understand Donald Trump. Far too often they project their own thinking, their fears, and their desires onto him. Their egos are such that they think he thinks like they do, or should. And when he doesn’t, they think he’s the one that screwed up. Not right.
You see, “They operate in a world where there are rules, there is always someone higher on the food chain, there is always something to worry about.” But Donald Trump does not have that mind-set. In his world, there’s nobody higher on the food chain. He is at the top of it. “As long as his courtiers are loyal to him, he will charge ahead.”
If you were to ask President Trump what he believes and where we’re going, he would respond in a way that would have millions of Americans nodding, “Yes! Right on!” in middle America. But people in media and politics and academia, when Trump would answer that question, “Where’s America going?” would simply shake their heads and say, “What an idiot.”
Donald Trump operates at a gut level. He has a sense of what he believes, but it’s unlikely he will take the time to sit anybody down and articulate it in an academic way. He doesn’t have time for that. He is who he is and he does what he does, and he doesn’t think about it. And he doesn’t self-analyze. He doesn’t navel gaze. He doesn’t ask what are other people gonna think about it.
There’s nobody higher on the food chain. There’s nobody he has to please in order to keep what he has. As such, nobody can relate to that because to the rest of us there’s always somebody higher on the food chain. Donald Trump is a builder. He sees what he wants in his mind. He may not be able to articulate it in a way theoreticians articulate policy, but he’s able to build it, he’s able to make it all happen, as long as his staff or the people he trusts and who know him at the gut level — that’s why family is so important to him.
RUSH: One more comment here about Michael Wolff and his claim that everybody in the White House thinks that Trump’s a child, that he’s a moron, he doesn’t like to read, he’s mentally unbalanced, all this. This is really irresponsibly absurd. And for this claim to be 100% of the people around Trump, and Wolff is the guy saying that he can’t guarantee everything in his book is right, and he’s also admitting that he did anything to get his story, including not tell people they were on the record when he was talking to ’em.
But I want to address this idea that Trump is moronic and dumb and uneducated. Folks, evidence each and every day belies this. Trump did three or four rallies every day for two years during the campaign. Trump has delivered speech after speech after speech, inaugural speech, a great speech that sufficed the State of the Union. He talks to the press more than any president ever has, and he engages with them. He hears everything they ask him. He doesn’t look clueless. He doesn’t act clueless.
So where is this coming from? Well, the fact of the matter is, this book doesn’t have anything in it that’s new, when you get right down to it! Everything this book claims about Trump we’ve been hearing for two years. He’s incurious, he’s not intellectual, he doesn’t know what he believes, he can’t explain his policies, he doesn’t read, he’s a moron. This is stuff that’s being recycled. There isn’t a thing in this book that is new.
We’re learning that Trump hired a bunch of people that betrayed him. And I know why that happens. I’ve explained that earlier in the program. I know the mistakes Trump’s made because I’ve made them, much smaller scale, but I’ve made them. I deferred at one point in my career to people who I thought knew more than I did about me and how I work, because they were in television and I wasn’t. And it was a mistake. But it was a well-intentioned mistake.
But the lesson was don’t sell myself short. Don’t assume that people know more than I do, especially about me and how I do what I do. I made that mistake. I think Trump, in a similar way, he not of Washington, he doesn’t have a Rolodex full of people. How many people in Donald Trump’s life — look at it this way. He’s running his business, he’s building buildings, golf courses, what have you, got his Rolodex of all the people he’s dealt with, how many people in that Rolodex do you think Donald Trump ever thought of, “You know, this guy’d make a great secretary of state. This guy would make a great Treasury secretary. This guy would be a great attorney general”?
How many people do you think he ever thought of in that regard? Because up until four or five years ago, I don’t think he was ever serious about running for president, so he wasn’t doing what establishment people do. Their whole lives this is how they look at people and how they fit in in their lives as members of the government-political class apparatus. So all of a sudden Trump becomes president. How does he staff? I never understood the choice of Bannon. I think I know how it happened, but I never understood it. It didn’t make sense from day one to me.
But if a donor to Trump wanted it, and if you Trump thought that the guy had been helpful, okay, fine. Because Trump doesn’t need a strategist. Trump is the strategist. Trump is the idea man in his administration. Trump is the guy that drives it. Remember, there is nobody higher on the food chain in Donald Trump’s life than Donald Trump. We can’t relate to that. Most of us, there’s always a bunch of people above us who can dramatically change our lives. They can hire us, promote us. They can fire us, destroy us. So we always have to defer.
In one way or another, all of us have to be aware that there’s somebody more powerful, wealthier, more connected that can either help us or harm us. Donald Trump doesn’t have anybody, and no other billionaire does either. There isn’t anybody higher on the food chain — and I submit to you that these clowns in Washington in no way can relate to that. In fact, I’ll posit this. I will guarantee you the media thinks they are higher on the food chain than Trump. I will guarantee you the media thinks Donald Trump does have to answer to them, because everybody else that served in the presidency has made it look like they answer to the media.
Everybody else that’s ever been president has, in one way or another, acknowledged the power of the media. They’ve tried to accommodate them. They have tried to appease them. They have tried to cooperate, whatever. And during the process, whoever it is… You know, generations change, but the people in the media think they are at the top of the food chain in American politics. They think that they are holding powerful people accountable. Sorry. Nobody holds Donald Trump accountable. Nobody in his life. Maybe his wife.
I mean, we’re getting into personal things there. But I’m talking about day-to-day, professional business, there isn’t anybody hire on his food chain. They think they are. They think Donald Trump has to go through them. Donald Trump has to defer to them. Donald Trump has to acknowledge them. And they are nothing but a bunch of gnats and Chihuahuas yipping at his ankles. They’ll never understand somebody like Donald Trump. None of them! Not a single one of these critics could do what Donald Trump has done, and yet he’s the idiot?
He’s the childlike guy that’s not curious? He’s the guy that doesn’t read? He is the guy that’s insane and unfit for office, when not one of them — not one of these erstwhile critics — could even occupy the same room with Donald Trump. So they have to concoct these explanations for how it is that Trump overcame ’em, how it is that Trump is higher on the food chain than they are. And of course it has to be that Trump is an idiot, that Trump doesn’t know, that Trump is stupid and uninterested and incapable of learning and all these other things designed to keep these people’s self-image respectable and sky-high.
Now, about childlike. I don’t think these people understand what childlike is. Our group of guys that plays golf, there’s one of them who is so childlike, he is so enthusiastic about the game. This guy, playing golf is like… It’s like a 10-year-old getting to do what he wants to do. He doesn’t stop talking about it. When we get on the course, he won’t stop talking about it. He loves it. He doesn’t hide his childlike love. We envy it! We envy it. This guy is unencumbered. He is just totally in love with the game of golf and the act of playing it and being with everybody he loves when he’s playing the game.
And we describe him as child. We describe it as “childlike passion.” It’s childlike, uncorrupted by the negative realities of the game. So if Donald Trump is childlike? I can tell you, I’ve seen childlike Donald Trump when he’s talking about his golf courses. I’ve seen childlike Donald Trump when he’s talking about the latest building he’s building or his hotel. I’ve seen childlike Donald Trump describing a great shot he just hit on the golf course. When I played with Trump, he shot a 72.
There’s also all kinds of stories that Trump cheats. I never saw it. Everybody I told I played golf with him asked, “Well, how many times did he cheat?” I never saw it. I was in the golf cart with him. I never saw it. Donald Trump has childlike enthusiasm for the things that he likes. Now somehow this means he’s not an adult? This means he’s immature and whatever? Okay. How many of you people that think Donald Trump is human debris? How many of you could do half of what he’s done?
How many of you who have lived and breathed and grown up in the establishment could ever get elected to anything? How many of you can do nothing more but sit there and criticize the doers, and yet you’re never gonna be doers? I think all this is backwards. I think the people losing their minds — the people acting childlike and immature and insane, the people incurious to learn what’s really going on — are the people leveling these charges at Donald Trump. But that’s just me.