(Update: Nikki Haley has called talk of an affair with Trump “disgusting.” Here is her full response.)
“Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff’s accusation that President Trump is currently having an affair set off online speculation Saturday about who the other party might be. Based on Wolff’s clues, it appears he’s making insinuations about UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
A quick side note before we go further: This is gross on every level. We don’t have any evidence whatsoever to suggest that what Wolff is hinting at is true, so please consider this a story about an author making an accusation he admits he can’t prove.
That said, Wolff went on “Real Time With Bill Maher” Friday to provide some encouragement to readers who may have given up halfway through “Fire and Fury” when he said a passage near the end of his book hints at the affair.
“Now that I’ve told you, when you hit that paragraph you’re going to say bingo,” Wolff told Maher.
We’ve read the book. While there are icky descriptions about Trump’s behavior with his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, they come before the book’s midway point. (“You’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have!” Trump is quoted as telling Hicks about an ex, which Wolff says sent Hicks “running from the room.”)
The only passage we’ve found near the end of the book that references a Trump relationship with a woman who isn’t his wife or daughter is this one:
By October, however, many on the president’s staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley — ‘as ambitious as Lucifer,” in the characterization of one member of the senior staff — had concluded that Trump’s tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with requisite submission, could be his heir apparent. Haley had courted and befriended Ivanka, and Ivanka had brought her into the family circle, where she had become a particular focus of Trump’s attention, and he of hers.
Bingo? Wolff adds that Trump “had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a political future.”
Wolff cited one “senior Trumper” who said the problem with Trump mentoring Haley “is that she is so much smarter than him.”
The White House, Haley and Wolff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are many problems with this theory, aside from Wolff going on national television to accuse people of having affairs. Among them: Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was one of Trump’s early Republican critics.
She campaigned for Marco Rubio and then supported Ted Cruz. When she gave the Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address, she seemed to criticize Trump when she said: “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices.” Trump responded by calling her “weak” on immigration.
Trump also tweeted:
The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2016
Like many Republicans, however, Haley signed on to work with Trump after his election.
Haley is a married child of Indian immigrants who turned 46 today. Happy birthday.
Here are some tweets from people who read between the lines:
In just the past two days Michael Wolff intimated Trump & Nikki Haley are having an affair, a porn star said Trump asked her to spank his bottom with a Forbes Magazine, Glenn Simpson accused Trump of money-laundering & cavorting with Russian mobsters & the government shutdown.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 20, 2018
It sure sounds like Michael Wolff just accused Donald Trump of having an affair with Nikki Haley https://t.co/llBbjbmC2T
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) January 20, 2018
At this point it's mere speculation, but Michael Wolff has said that a paragraph toward the back of FIRE AND FURY reveals who Trump's current mistress is (an affair that opens the president up to blackmail) and many online are insisting that THIS is the paragraph Wolff refers to: pic.twitter.com/qVRiPjZ5yX
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 20, 2018
And a rebuttal:
I doubt Nikki Haley is having an affair with Trump. I'm sure Trump's lover is white. https://t.co/O4YkaVOoDI
— Jim McIver (@klemmett_r) January 20, 2018