SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has found good material to attack U.S. President Donald Trump: Michael Wolff's bombshell new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The book paints Trump as a leader who doesn't understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides. Trump and other White House aides have blasted it as inaccurate trash. But it was the top-selling book in the U.S. last week, and its numbers are likely to grow far higher.
On Thursday, the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, run by its ruling Workers’ Party, carried an article about the book's subject matter, how Trump reacted and why it is selling so well.
Its sales reflect “rapidly surging anti-Trump sentiments in the international community,” the article said. “The anti-Trump book is sweeping all over the world so Trump is being massively humiliated worldwide.”
The book's popularity “foretells Trump's political demise,” the article said.
Last summer, Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in an exchange of taunts with the North, which claimed it was examining plans to launch missiles toward the American territory of Guam.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have since traded threats of war and crude insults, as the North conducted nuclear and long-range missile tests.
Trump called Kim “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission.” Kim called the 71-year-old American president “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” In his New Year's address last week, Kim said he has a “nuclear button” that could fire weapons anywhere in the United States, and Trump responded that he has a much bigger and more powerful “nuclear button.”
Recently, North Korea has taken steps toward improving ties with rival South Korea in what critics call a tactic to divide Seoul and Washington and weaken U.S.-led international pressure and sanctions on the country. On Tuesday, it had its first formal talks with South Korea in about two years and agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in the South and hold military talks aimed at easing front-line animosity.
But North Korea hasn't stopped its rhetoric against Trump. Last week, the North's state media called Trump a “war maniac” and “madman.”
After Tuesday's inter-Korean talks, Trump said during a phone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the United States was open to talks with North Korea “at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances,” according to a White House statement.
“Fire and Fury” was released last Friday and sold 29,000 copies through Saturday, NPD BookScan told The Associated Press. Digital sales already top 250,000 and audio sales exceed 100,000, according to John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, the parent company of the book's publisher, Henry Holt and Co. It has raised an initial announced printing of 150,000 to more than 1 million.