But they are shocked that the author, Michael Wolff, was given access to the White House for months to work on the project and stunned at the seemingly low regard some staffers have for the president as described in the book.
"The biggest political mistake in American history was to allow a reporter, whose integrity has been impugned across the spectrum, into the White House and give him free rein,” said one source close to the White House.
The source blamed former chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon for Wolff’s frequent presence in the West Wing. Bannon is quoted extensively in the book and offered blistering criticism of the president and his family.
The Breitbart News chief said this week he remains a strong supporter of Trump, calling him a "great man.” Allies of Bannon said he considered releasing a statement disputing some of his quotes, but pulled back after Trump attacked him in ferocious fashion earlier this week.
Former Trump campaign adviser Barry Bennett was taken aback by the contempt some staff reportedly have for the president. "Fire and Fury” portrayed aides going to great lengths to hold back ridicule or scorn when Trump has his "wackadoo moments.”
"I’ve been a staffer for 30 years and I just don’t understand the behavior — that you would talk about your boss and someone you dedicated a chunk of your life to in that way,” said Bennett. "I can’t fathom letting your ego get the best of you like that.”
The former campaign hand lamented that the White House was forced to spend the first days of 2018 in damage-control mode.
"The presidency is a clock. It runs for four years and every second lost is not gained back,” Bennett said. "They’re doing great, but they could be doing much better … To have to recover from some of these staff-inflicted wounds is just an incredible waste of some of these precious moments.”
The controversy squelched any chance for Trump to seize momentum heading into the New Year, when he hoped the sweeping GOP tax law successfully passed in December would give a boost to his other legislative priorities.