'Losing was winning': How victory ruined Trump's plans
A NEW book on Donald Trump has revealed the businessman never expected to win the US election and the result was met with tears and disbelief.
In his book Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House, Michael Wolff said Trump was described as looking like he had "seen a ghost" as it became clear the television personality had secured victory.
"Shortly after 8pm on election night, when the unexpected trend - Trump might actually win - seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost," an excerpt published in New York Magazine reveals.
"Melania (Trump's wife) was in tears - and not of joy".
Until the very end Wolff suggests that Trump's team, and even Trump himself, saw losing as winning as they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behaviour or views.
"His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the Tea Party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable news star.
"Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn't become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning."
Wolff, a provocative author who has previously written a book on media mogul Rupert Murdoch and contributed to USA Today, Vanity Fair, Hollywood Reporter and New York Magazine, has been challenged before over the accuracy of quotes and the events he describes.
But so far many revelations are attributed to comments from Trump's campaign chairman Steve Bannon, who has not yet denied their accuracy.
It's also based on more than 200 interviews as well as Wolff enjoying a "semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing". The writer was reportedly even encouraged by the president himself.
"Because no one was in a position to either officially approve or formally deny such access, Wolff became 'more a constant interloper than an invited guest'," an explanatory note on the New York Magazine site explains.
"There were no ground rules placed on his access, and he was required to make no promises about how he would report on what he witnessed."
His unfettered presence is perhaps another symptom of how unprepared the Trump team were for the businessman to become president.
In the book, Wolff said Trump reportedly told his aid Sam Nunberg of the modest ambitions he had for his campaign: "I can be the most famous man in the world."
"His longtime friend Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, liked to say that if you want a career in television, first run for president," the book states. "Now Trump, encouraged by Ailes, was floating rumours about a Trump network. It was a great future. He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities.
"'This is bigger than I ever dreamed of,' (Trump) told Ailes a week before the election. 'I don't think about losing, because it isn't losing. We've totally won.'"
Trump was so convinced of his eventual loss that he was reluctant to put his own money into the campaign. He only provided $10 million as long as he got it back as soon as money could be raised elsewhere.
But once the numbers started coming in on election night, Trump began to contemplate life in the White House.
Steve Bannon described a "befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump".
But as the news began to wash over him, Trump changed.
"Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States."
It also marked a transformation in the ambitions of those around him.
The book suggests Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared decided to accept jobs at the White House, "over the advice of almost everyone they knew", in the hope it would "catapult them into a heretofore unimagined big time".
"It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job," the book said.
"Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she'd be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump."
However, Trump's apparent plan for failure caused complications for the businessman once he was in the Oval Office.
"Almost everybody on the Trump team, in fact, came with the kind of messy conflicts bound to bite a president once he was in office.
"Michael Flynn, the retired general who served as Trump's opening act at campaign rallies, had been told by his friends that it had not been a good idea to take $45,000 from the Russians for a speech. "'Well, it would only be a problem if we won,' Flynn assured them."
Trump himself refused to release his tax returns or consider potential conflict of interest questions impacting on his own business deals and real estate holdings.
"Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary," the book said.
And even though the accidental president gradually came to embrace his success, he struggled to enjoy it.
"Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration," the book states. "He was angry that A-level stars had snubbed the event, disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House, and visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears. Throughout the day, he wore what some around him had taken to calling his golf face: angry and pissed off, shoulders hunched, arms swinging, brow furled, lips pursed."
He was also poorly prepared to adapt to a new life in the White House.
"Trump, in fact, found the White House to be vexing and even a little scary. He retreated to his own bedroom - the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms.
"In the first days, he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room.
"He reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: 'If my shirt is on the floor, it's because I want it on the floor.' Then he imposed a set of new rules: Nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's - nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed."
Rupert Murdoch is part owner of News Corp, which is the publisher of news.com.au.