Despite a wind chill of -3 degrees, Washington, D.C.'s political junkies lined up at Kramerbooks on Thursday night for the midnight release of journalist Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which blew up the nation's capital this week.
"This is a D.C. moment, and I wanted to be a part of it," fifth-grade teacher Steve Dingledine told the Washington Post at the DuPont Circle bookstore cafe.
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Dingledine and other D.C. residents braved the frigid weather to be there for the midnight release. They also mobilized quickly: the publisher of Wolff's book, Henry Holt, only announced hours earlier that the release date would be officially moved from the original on-sale date, next Tuesday.
"People have been calling about it all day," a 19-year-old bookstore employee told the Post. "So we've been taking bets in the store about who will actually be here."
"It's like Harry Potter for adults," one person in line said.
Kramerbooks had 75 copies at midnight. It took 15 minutes for them to sell out.
"We'll have more soon," a clerk told disappointed shoppers. "Plenty more."
Wolff's book has dominated political conversations this week after excerpts were made public on Wednesday containing a number of salacious accusations about President Donald Trump, his family, his campaign, and top officials serving in his White House.
The White House has pushed back against the claims made in the book, calling the work "trashy tabloid fiction." Wolff's book also led a lawyer for Trump to send Steve Bannon a cease-and-desist letter after the former White House chief strategist criticized Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Bannon called Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian operatives in Trump Tower in 2016, which Kushner also attended, both "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
HuffPost profiled people waiting in line at Kramerbooks.
An employee for the National Park Service, who did not want to give her last name, failed to convince her husband to join her in line for the book. She went anyway, thinking "it would be fun" and "a nice protest."
"For the past, what, 24-48 hours, this is all people are talking about," a 25-year-old told HuffPost, sipping an Allagash White beer as he stood in line waiting for his copy. "It seems like a mess."
One person waiting in line said that despite questions about the book's accuracy, he thinks the "overwhelming gist" of the book is "generally true" even if some details get lost in translation.
"In a dispute over truth, I'm probably going to believe the author," he said.
One woman waiting in line who came too late said she had been "glued to the internet" for days reading about the book.
"My parents are really big Republicans and this has been a really weird time, and I'm hoping this pushes some people over the edge, to reality," said Jane Vallinas, 28. "I was planning on staying up all night."
She said she would try looking elsewhere in the morning.
"It's really exciting," Vallinas said. "The last time I went to a book release was Harry Potter."
BuzzFeed News legal editor Chris Geidner tweeted out pictures of the midnight line.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) January 5, 2018