Hearing how infuriated U.S. President Donald Trump was by Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," I had to read it.

A veritable expose that is said to contain both fact and sloppily sourced information of dubious accuracy, the book went on sale earlier this month in the United States and became an instant sensation.

None of the bookstores I visited in central Tokyo had a copy in stock, and I had to make do with an e-reader edition.

Starting to read it with a healthy dose of skepticism, I was surprised by the author's unexpectedly detailed narrative.

For instance, Wolff describes how Trump overrode the protests of the Secret Service and had a lock installed on his bedroom door shortly after moving into the White House. He also added two more TV sets to the room to make three in total. For all his rants against TV stations, he apparently loves watching the small screen.

Trump ordered the housekeeping crew to never touch his toothbrush, fearing poisoning attempts. In fact, he has a longtime fear of being poisoned, according to Wolff, and the reason why he loves McDonald's cheeseburgers is that they are "safely premade."

I wonder if the source of his paranoia is his awareness of having done things to make people hold serious grudges against him.

Jan. 20 marks the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Trump administration. The stir the "Fire and Fury" book has caused is indicative of many people's deep unease about the future of the world with this individual occupying the White House.

Just recently, Trump used the vulgar word "shithole" in reference to certain Latin American and African nations. This is not a word that is acceptable in decent company.

Granted, a surging wave of anti-intellectualism in a superpower in decline was what got Trump elected president in the first place. And as such, I think it is safe to say that people never expected him to have the gravitas and class of the founding fathers and the generations of U.S. presidents who preceded him.

But lately, concerns about Trump's mental health are being voiced increasingly in the United States. And Trump typically retorted in a Twitter rant: “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart ... I went from a VERY successful businessman to a top TV star ... to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that!"

I wouldn't grace this with a comment.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 19

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.