Bob Woodward’s book lays out how one New York Times story changed the entire course of the Trump campaign

Donald Trump. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Bob Woodward’s explosive new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” lays out how one New York Times story changed the entire course of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
  • The August 2016 story led to an overhaul of the Trump campaign’s leadership, the book says.

The journalist Bob Woodward’s explosive new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” lays out how one deeply sourced New York Times story detailing turmoil in President Donald Trump’s campaign changed its entire course.

Business Insider obtained a copy of the book, published by Simon & Schuster and set to be released Tuesday. In it, Woodward describes how the August 2016 Times story, headlined in print as “The Failing Inside Mission to Tame Trump’s Tongue,” upended the campaign and led to an entirely new leadership structure.

Woodward says Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who was then running Breitbart News, called the Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer after reading the Times story.

“This is bad because we’re going to get blamed for this,” Bannon told Mercer of what appeared to be Trump’s impending loss, according to Woodward. Mercer asked Bannon to step in and run the campaign, saying Paul Manafort, its chairman at the time, was a “disaster.”

Soon after, Mercer and her father, the billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer, met with Trump at the Long Island home of the New York Jets owner and fellow GOP megadonor Woody Johnson.

“Manafort has to go,” Rebekah Mercer told Trump, Woodward reported.

Trump asked her for a recommendation for who to run the campaign.

“Steve Bannon will come in,” she said.

Bannon and Trump spoke later that night, with Bannon telling him that the Times story was “embarrassing.”

Trump took aim at Manafort, calling him “a stiff,” Woodward said.

Bannon and Trump soon met at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. They convened a gathering that also featured former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.

Ailes told Bannon the numbers were looking horrible for Trump and that the election would be a “blowout.”

Woodward wrote that Manafort soon entered the room dressed in what was described as yachting attire and got reamed out by Trump.

“Paul, am I a baby?” Trump said regarding the Times story. “Is that what you are saying, I’m a baby? You’re terrible on TV. You’ve got no energy. You don’t represent the campaign. I’ve told you nicely. You’re never going on TV again.”

Trump soon told Bannon he would become CEO of the campaign, agreeing that Kellyanne Conway, now a White House counselor, would become campaign manager. But Bannon argued that Manafort should remain chairman of the operation so as not to cause a media kerfuffle over more internal turmoil.

Manafort then asked Bannon on the night of August 14 to meet at Trump Tower. Manafort wanted to discuss another Times story that would soon be released, one that said he received more than $US12.7 million in undisclosed payments from a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party.

Within days, Manafort was ousted from the campaign, and Bannon and Conway were publicly named to their positions.

Woodward’s book garnered widespread attention this week after CNN and The Washington Post published excerpts. Many of those anecdotes paint a picture of Trump as reckless, impulsive, and unable to grasp various policies both domestic and foreign. Trump has blasted the book, calling it a work of “fiction.”

Woodward said he taped hundreds of interviews for the book, which is written on “deep background,” or not directly sourced to anyone. Woodward said that he tried to reach Trump to interview him for the book but that the president ultimately did not agree to speak with him.

Here are more revelations from the book so far: