- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 4, 2018

The book hits stores Friday, but it’s been No. 1 on Amazon for days. “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff has received a monstrous publicity bump from the news media — ever-hostile toward President Trump, and always eager to find new ways to undermine his presidency. Strategic leaks from Mr. Wolff’s 336-page work have supplied the ammunition this time with tales of palace intrigue, discord and dysfunction in the Trump campaign and the White House itself. The press has responded with dozens of gleeful stories.

“Couldn’t be happier with the coverage,” Mr. Wolff tweeted on Thursday, praising The New Yorker, New York Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter in particular.

Curiosity grows about the author. The coverage also reveals that Mr. Wolff is a Manhattan-based magazine editor, news publisher, entrepreneur, media critic, columnist and biographer who stands by his work on publication day, which should get very noisy. News organizations including The New York Post have shared other details as well: He is 63, separated from his wife of 30 years and is now involved in divorce proceedings. Mr. Wolff fathered a child in 2015 with girlfriend Victoria Floethe, 37, also a writer and columnist.

Trump-bashing books, in the meantime, abound. It is a flourishing genre in the publishing industry — which appears convinced that such fare is a guaranteed sell. Is it? The American public also can’t ignore the bright economic trends which have arrived since Mr. Trump took office, as well as assorted legislative victories and promising news on the terrorism front.

Still, the books proliferate: A scant few recent titles: “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win” by Luke Harding, “Trump is F*cking Crazy: (This is Not a Joke)” by Keith Olbermann; and “The Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy” by Brian Klaas. Then there’s “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic” by David Frum and “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America” by David Cay Johnston — both due Jan. 16. And there are many more on the way through the end of the year. A rare entry appears actually positive: “The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography” by David Brody and Scott Lamb, ready in mid-February.



SARAH CLEARS THE AIR

“I am not going to waste my time or the country’s time going page-by-page, talking about a book that is complete fantasy and full of tabloid gossip,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders advised the press corps after multiple reporters questioned her about the aforementioned book by Michael Wolff.

“It is bad, pathetic — and our focus is going to be on moving the country forward,” she noted.

LIMBAUGH’S SIMPLE ADVICE

“You’d have to look far and wide to find a more conservative administration than this one, and you know when President Trump gets in the least trouble is when he does conservative things. The more conservatism in Trump’s agenda, the more popular he becomes, the more support he ends up having, and the greater success he enjoys in implementing his agenda,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his 10 million listeners on Thursday just as the stock market topped 25,000.

“As more and more, quote, unquote, conservatism is finding its way back into, say, the American economy, the happier and more robust the American people are. And, remember, we’re just in the first stages of the uptick,” he added.

THE $40 BILLION MARIJUANA BOOM

The clash between legal issues and the potential economic benefits of legalized marijuana is at hand following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vow to reinforce federal laws which deem cannabis an illegal substance. Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, now looks to the White House for reassurance.

“This news from the Department of Justice is disturbing, especially in light of the fact that 73 percent of voters oppose federal interference with state cannabis laws,” says Mr. Smith. “This has been, and still will be, a matter of prosecutorial discretion. We therefore hope that Department of Justice officials, including U.S. attorneys, will continue to uphold President Trump’s campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs, which have been overwhelmingly successful in undercutting the criminal market.”

Some insist weed is economic fuel: Arcview Market Research, which gauges the growth of the industry, says the total economic output from legal cannabis will grow 150 percent from $16 billion in 2017 to $40 billion in three years.

“Consumer spending on legal cannabis in 2021 of $20.8 billion will generate $39.6 billion in overall economic impact, 414,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in tax receipts,” says the marketing group, predicting that 35 states will have medical or adult-use legality by 2021.

“Americans are worried about being able to find jobs and support their families,” says analyst Tom Adams, “The numerous employment opportunities created by the cannabis industry, especially in states that are legalizing adult use, cross the spectrum from retail and service jobs to science, technology and other traditional professions. Voters have noticed, and now legislators are waking up to the opportunities.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

• 81 percent of Americans say the American founders would be “upset” with the way Congress and the White House have operated in the last 10 years; 83 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

• 72 percent overall say Americans are “greatly divided” on important values; 73 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats agree.

• 60 percent overall feel dissatisfied with Washington; 55 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent overall say the U.S. system of government is basically sound, but needs “some improvement”; 60 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

• 20 percent overall say President Trump has made progress “draining the swamp”; 47 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Monmouth University poll of 806 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 10-12 and released Thursday.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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