A string of recent books about the chaotic tenure of the Trump administration have angered the notoriously thin-skinned former president, who has lashed out via a series of bombastic putdowns released via his website.
Trumps seems particularly peeved about damning anecdotes sourced to former aides. (Among the revelations are Trump’s praise of Hitler, the fact that he was “riveted” by the January 6th riots, and that Pentagon brass feared he was planning a coup.)
On Thursday, Trump released a statement reading:
Nobody had ever heard of some of these people that worked for me in D.C. All of a sudden, the Fake News starts calling them. Some of them—by no means all—feel emboldened, brave, and for the first time in their lives, they feel like “something special,” not the losers that they are—and they talk, talk, talk!
Many say I am the greatest star-maker of all time. But some of the stars I produced are actually made of garbage.
Putting aside the oddity of Trump calling his former staffers “losers,” there’s one major problem with his criticism: he, too, talked, talked, talked with many of the journalists who penned the most damning portraits of his presidency.
In May, Politico reported that Trump was sitting for 12 book interviews. His former aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, explained:
Donald doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘no comment.’ He feels like there will always be one side of the audience who sympathizes with him. So it’s not surprising to me that every one of these book interviews he’s going to sit through and think he has the power to manipulate the authors and try to influence them.
Trump himself reportedly said, “I think if you can improve the book 3, 5, 10 percent [by participating], that matters.”
But now Trump is clearly having regrets. In a statement last week, he said writers are “often bad people who write whatever comes to their mind or fits their agenda.” He added, “It seems to me that meeting with authors of the ridiculous number of books being written about my very successful Administration, or me, is a total waste of time.”
Sean Spicer, Trump’s first press secretary, doesn’t have much sympathy for his former boss, telling Politico, “I understand the rationale, but it was a strategic mistake to sit down with these folks — you’re giving them credibility. It’s hard to say, ‘I sat down with them and they got it wrong.’ So they’ve created a sense of credibility that makes it harder to critique.”
Trump is reportedly worried about forthcoming tell-alls from members of his inner circle, including Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner. Conway’s book is a particular cause for concern. According to Politico, “the ex-president’s loyal former counselor is expected to give a hold-no-punches account of her time in the White House and those she worked alongside. Conway herself sat down with Trump for her book at Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump claims to be working on his own book to set the record straight, but thus far the publishing industry has refused to give him a contract. Undeterred, Trump claims, “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”