Book about Trump White House flies off shelves to top bestseller lists

Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House was released four days ahead of schedule amid strong demand.
Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House was released four days ahead of schedule amid strong demand.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON - A book that claims Mr Donald Trump is unfit for office has shot to the top of Amazon's and Barnes and Noble's bestseller lists, helped by the US President's threats of legal action against author Michael Wolff.

Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House was released four days ahead of schedule amid strong demand, thought it will only ship in two to four weeks, according to Amazon. Barnes and Noble said the book was "temporarily out of stock" on its website, reported CBS News.

An independent bookseller in Washington sold out of the book in less than 20 minutes, according to BuzzFeed, while book wholesale distributor Ingram Content Group was also out of stock.

Speaking on the Today show, Mr Wolff called the administration's attempt to block the book "extraordinary" and dismissed the President's criticisms of him out of hand.

"My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point," Mr Wolff said, according to The New York Times.

In a tweet on Friday, Mr Trump said: "Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!"

Late on Thursday, Mr Trump claimed that he had not authorised Mr Wolff's access to the White House (and in fact had turned him down) and that he had never spoken to the author for the book.

Mr Wolff countered by saying that he had absolutely spoken to the President and had done so after the inauguration.

"Whether he realised it was an interview or not, I don't know, but it certainly was not off the record," he said.

He said that, cumulatively, he had spent about three hours with the President during the campaign and in the White House.

"What was I doing there if he didn't want me to be there?" he asked.

Excerpts from Fire And Fury began to appear online earlier this week, leading to a break between Mr Trump and his one-time chief strategist, Mr Stephen Bannon, who is quoted in the book calling Mr Donald Trump Jr's actions during the campaign "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" and insulting Ms Ivanka Trump.

The White House has characterised the book as a "complete fantasy" full of "tabloid gossip", but it is not only the administration that has questioned Mr Wolff's reporting. Some journalists have also expressed scepticism and pointed to past criticism of Mr Wolff's work.

In 2004, The New Republic said the scenes in his columns "aren't re-created so much as created - springing from Wolff's imagination rather than from actual knowledge of events".

Others have said that the book, while filled with new and lurid details, corroborates previous reporting about the Trump White House.

Mr Wolff chose to sidestep broader questions about his credibility on Today, claiming that he had written "millions" of words in his career and had never received a correction.

Instead, he kept his attention fixed on a president whose opposition to his book has only heightened its profile.

Asked how he felt about the President's attempt to keep the book off shelves, Mr Wolff quipped, "Where do I send the box of chocolates?"