Speed Reads

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Sean Spicer reportedly adopted 'you can't make this s--t up' as his personal White House mantra

For the record, Sean Spicer couldn't believe it either.

The former White House press secretary was apparently so bewildered by the predicaments he found himself in as President Trump's first press shop boss that he adopted a disbelieving personal refrain: "You can't make this s--t up."

That's according to Michael Wolff, author of the forthcoming tell-all book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Wolff's book will be released Jan. 9, but on Thursday, he wrote a companion column for The Hollywood Reporter that chronicled his experience reporting as a fly on the wall in the Trump White House. In the column, he claims Trump's staff was cynical behind the scenes, even as they kept a loyal face in public:

Politics is a game, of course, of determined role-playing, but the difficulties of staying in character in the Trump White House became evident almost from the first day.

"You can't make this [s--t] up," Sean Spicer, soon to be portrayed as the most hapless man in America, muttered to himself after his tortured press briefing on the first day of the new administration, when he was called to justify the president's inaugural crowd numbers — and soon enough, he adopted this as a personal mantra. [...] Kellyanne Conway, who would put a finger-gun to her head in private about Trump's public comments, continued to mount an implacable defense on cable television, until she was pulled off the air by others in the White House who, however much the president enjoyed her, found her militancy idiotic. (Even Ivanka [Trump] and Jared [Kushner] regarded Conway's fulsome defenses as cringeworthy.)

Steve Bannon tried to gamely suggest that Trump was mere front man and that he, with plan and purpose and intellect, was, more reasonably, running the show. [Michael Wolff, via The Hollywood Reporter]

Read Wolff's full column at The Hollywood Reporter, or read excerpts from Fire and Fury at The Guardian or New York.