After the Jan. 6 insurrection, major publishing houses didn’t want to have anything to do with a Trump memoir that they’d have to fact check. It must have been a blow to Trump’s ego when Vice President Mike Pence got a seven-figure deal to write two books—a move that led outraged Simon & Schuster employees to petition for the deal be canceled.
So enter Winning Team Publishing, formed last year by Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign aid Sergio Gor. They billed their venture as”the nation’s premier conservative publishing house,” even though it had yet to publish an actual book.
Now, every potential best-s needs some promotion and recommendations, so the publishing house promises what is basically a revisionist history of the one-term Trump presidency, written by the disgraced two time popular vote loser himself.
“President Donald J. Trump’s first official book since leaving the White House”. This photo book captures the greatness of the last four years unlike anything else that has been published. Every photograph has been handpicked by President Donald J. Trump, every caption written by him, some in his own handwriting!”
The book predictably came with glowing recommendations from Sen. Rand Paul, Don Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Trump’s eldest daughter and former White House adviser, Ivanka.
It’s likely the book does live up to its billing as “unlike anything else that has been published.” It is unadulterated, unfiltered Trump. The book is dedicated to “the Deplorables” because, Trump writes, “You got me here!” As The Washington Post‘s Charles wrote, “Images are the perfect lexicon for Trump to articulate a fantastical revision of his four chaotic years in office. Freed from the complexities of language or the context of history, the former president spins a dreamscape of adulation and triumph.
“It’s remarkable how effectively this presentation captures Trump’s wandering mind and self-sabotaging bitterness.”
There’s no containing Trump’s bill. Here are just a few examples:
A photo of Trump meeting with in the Oval Office with John and Cindy McCain is captioned: “John McCain visited me in the White House, asking for a job for his wife. I am smiling, but I didn’t like him even a little bit.”
A photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shown negotiating in a conference room is captioned: “f—ing CRAZY — hence the name Crazy Nancy!” That caption was written with a Sharpie and placed over an image of the presidential seal.
Trump can also be effusive with his praise of leaders he likes.
A photo of him talking with now-embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the UN General Assembly has this caption: “Boris is one of a kind — and a fantastic leader of the United Kingdom. He will go down as the best PM since Winston Churchill!”
And there was a picture of Trump shaking hands with Kim Jong Un at the border of North and South Korea. Trump wrote: “I liked Kim Jong Un — very tough and smart. The world was a safer place because of our relationship. If our election was not rigged, we would by now have a deal with North Korea.”
The choice of photos is also striking. There’s a photo of Fox News host Sean Hannity, as well as a happy picture of Trump walking with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom US intelligence believes approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post review notes: “In short, this is a memoir spun from the thin gruel of musty propaganda and cherished grudges. Turning these pages is like watching an old man dust his Hummel figurines and whine about the neighbors.”
Charles notes that remarkably, the book makes no mention of the deaths of 400,000 Americans from COVID-19 during the Trump administration, but it does note that Trump enjoyed “a quick recovery” after he caught the virus.
Trump also doesn’t say much about his two impeachments except for a photo of him holding up a copy of The Washington Post with the headline “Trump acquitted.”
Trump also doesn’t mention the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection or his still-continuing attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s election. But the nation’s worst modern president does highlight his Supreme Court nominations, and inexplicably devotes four pages to Japanese sumo wrestlers, according to Charles.
Yes, really. Apparently during a 2019 trip to Japan, Trump was invited by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend a sumo wrestling championship, where he presented an eagle-topped US President’s Cup to “the number one sumo wrestler in the world.”
Trump offers other insights from his travels abroad. A visit to the Churchill War Rooms in London elicits the comment that Churchill was “a real HERO,” and he reveals that “Israel’s capital, Jerusalem” is “a very holy place.”
As for the ending? Charles writes:
“Trump closes the book with three double-spreads in a row of large crowds of fans. The last photo is a close-up of Trump alone, looking solemnly to the side. Then there’s a Sharpie note: `America, our journey continues. Together we will take our country back. We will WIN!”
So just like a horror movie, the picture book closes on an ominous note, with a threat of a sequel in which the monster returns.