• Politics
  • White House

‘I Absolutely Spoke to the President.’ Author of Explosive White House Book Refutes President Trump’s Claims

3 minute read

The author behind the explosive new book about President Donald Trump’s White House said he has “absolutely” interviewed Trump for “Fire and Fury” and stands by every word he wrote.

Michael Wolff, a longtime New York media columnist, defended his work Friday during an interview on the Today show after Trump slammed the credibility of the author and blasted the book as “phony” in a tweet.

“I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book!” Trump wrote Thursday. “I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.”

Wolff said he interviewed Trump after his inauguration, as well as several people who interacted with the President on a daily basis. “I absolutely spoke to the president,” Wolff said Friday. “Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record.”

“My creditably is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point,” he added. “I have recordings, I have notes. I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I have reported in this book.”

“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” was published Friday, four days earlier than the intended release date. The book reportedly contains comments from former Chief White House Strategist and campaign executive Steve Bannon, who called a summer 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian attorney “treasonous.”

In a statement, Henry Holt & Co Publishing, the publisher of the book, said the company received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for Trump but is moving forward with its publication anyway.

Wolff said Trump’s efforts to halt and criticize the book are helping him sell it since he said it proves his point about Trump’s reported behavior.

“Where do I send the box of chocolates?” Wolff quipped.

He later added: “The one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common — they all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that he has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him,” Wolff said. “This man does not read, does not listen. He’s like a pinball, just shooting off the sides.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com