Donald Trump is a pitchman at heart. Selling his wine, his water, his hotels, his condos—his brand—is what has made him happy and kept him wealthy. So it never was realistic that he would stop pitching products just because he became president. And it should surprise nobody that even in the week when he was grappling with some of the toughest foreign policy challenges of his presidency in Iran and North Korea, he would pause long enough to tout a few books.
Four times this month, the president has tweeted his fulsome praise for books written by his supporters. Not surprisingly, sales of those books rose significantly almost as soon as the presidential endorsement went out to the 51.6 million followers of @realDonaldTrump. Similar sales spurts were seen for the 10 other books the president has touted.
Trump is not the first president to give a boost to an author. The difference is that the other presidents actually read the books when they praised them. President Reagan gushed over Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, calling it “my kind of yarn” and giving enormous exposure to the first-time author. A few years later, President George H.W. Bush was seen carrying John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief, broadening its sales immediately. Less dramatically, President Obama annually released a list of the books he took on vacation, with chartable sales effects.
Trump, though, is the first president since World War II to confess he does not read books, telling interviewers he is too busy to read more than an occasional chapter. So he is basing his current endorsements on two criteria: Is the book written by a loyalist? Or, is the book laudatory of Trump?
Unfortunately for Trump, he has learned that even when he tweets his disapproval of a book—as he has five times as president—he sells more of those books as well. The best known of those were books authored by Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Michael Wolff—all best-sellers despite his opprobrium. Books he didn’t like were “low-sellling,” “unreadable,” “badly reviewed,” “dishonest,” “really boring,” “very dull,” and filled with “fake words.” The authors were “failed,” “a nobody,” and “an Obama flunky.”
Here, starting with the most recent, are the books promoted in tweets by the president:
(May 7) The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics
By Washington Examiner reporter Salena Zito and Republican strategist Brad Todd. Trump tweeted that the book “does much to tell the story of our great Election victory. The Forgotten Men & Women are forgotten no longer!”
(May 5) The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It
By the former head of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. and Trump’s first nominee for Labor secretary. “Great book just out by very successful businessman @AndyPuzder. Always known as somebody who knows how to win. ‘Capitalist Comeback’ will be a big hit!”
(May 2) The Light Within Me: An Inspirational Memoir
By Fox and Friends cohost Ainsley Earhardt. Earhardt, he tweeted, “a truly great person, just wrote a wonderful book” which “is doing really well. She is very special and so is her new book … bring it to number one!”
(May 2) The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump
By Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett. “NEW BOOK—A MUST READ!”—the only book to get uppercase letters from the president, who called Jarrett “brilliant” and added, “A sad chapter for law enforcement. A rigged system!”
(March 25) What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America From Hillary Clinton
By conservative columnist and radio talker Howie Carr. A book “which everyone is talking about. He was a great help. He is a veteran journalist who had a great influence in NH and beyond. He calls it the most amazing political campaign of modern times.”
(March 7) Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us
By conservative actress Roma Downey, wife of the longtime producer of The Apprentice, Mark Burnett. “Great couple, great book!”
(Feb. 19) The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography
By Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent David Brody and Baptist preacher Scott Lamb. It “is a very interesting read. Enjoy!”
(Dec. 16, 2017) Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency
By former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie. Trump praised the authors as “two great and hardworking guys.” He added, “Finally people with real knowledge are writing about our wonderful and exciting campaign!”
(Dec. 7, 2017) Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny
By Fox host Brian Kilmeade. “Go get the new book… Really good. @foxandfriends.”
(Oct. 20, 2017) A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths about Your Eternal Home
By Southern Baptist preacher Robert Jeffress, known for his virulent anti-Catholicism. “Great book just out” by Jeffress, “a wonderful man!”
(Aug. 17, 2017) Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America
By controversial former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., with a foreword from Trump’s favorite Fox host, Sean Hannity. “A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!”
(June 27, 2017) The Swamp: Washington’s Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It
By former Fox News anchor Eric Bolling. This was a retweet by Trump of Bolling: “President Trump has a copy… get yours here.”
(April 17, 2017) Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide
A gag book put out by conservative commentator Michael J. Knowles and featuring 266 blank pages. “A great book for your reading enjoyment.”
(March 3, 2017) Green Card Warrior: My Quest for Legal Immigration in an Illegals’ System
From Australian-turned-American conservative commentator Nick Adams, featuring two of Trump’s favorite things—attacks on the Obama administration and the current immigration system. “A must read. The merit-based system is the way to go. Canada, Australia!”
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