President Donald Trump admitted he was wrong to have then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer attack the media about their reporting on the size of the inauguration crowd last year, according to the latest book providing an inside look at Trump’s White House.
The book, Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And The War Over The Truth, by Fox News’s Howard Kurtz, will be released on Jan. 29. The Washington Post obtained excerpts ahead of the release and detailed some of its contents.
It will be the second Trump White House book to premiere in January, following Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, the gossipy tell-all about Trump’s first nine months in the White House that is still making headlines.
Kurtz, who has sometimes sided with Trump in his Fox News show Media Buzz in criticizing the media, wrote a book that is reportedly a more honeyed portrayal of the White House staff than Wolff’s bombshell, according to The Washington Post. Yet it still contains telling anecdotes of a White House unable to contain the president, with staff members even coining Trump’s inclination to do what they urged him not to do as “defiance disorder.”
According to The Washington Post, the book reveals how Trump’s tweeting led to chaos among White House staff—including after Trump’s tweets about banning transgender people from serving military and his claim that the Obama White House wiretapped him during the campaign.
“Priebus knew the staff would have to fall into line to prove the tweet correct, the opposite of the usual process of vetting proposed pronouncements,” Kurtz said in the book. “Once the president had committed to 140 characters, he was not going to back off.”
Kurtz also writes about the debate over crowd sizes during the inauguration. Although Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway tried to dissuade Trump from ordering Spicer to attack the press, Trump had Spicer do it anywas, leading to an entire news cycle about inauguration crowd sizes and ridicule.
“You were right,” Trump told his staff, according to the book. “I shouldn’t have done that.”