On November 5, Donald Trump Jr. released his first-ever book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, generously categorized as a work of nonfiction. In it, Trump Jr. runs through his numerous qualms with the snowflakes of America, while also complaining about the sacrifices his family has made in order for his father to become president of the United States. (Trump Sr. has faced virtually zero consequences for his dozens of impeachable offenses in office, to say nothing of the numerous, credible accusations of sexual misconduct against him.) A week or so after its release, the book debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list in the nonfiction section. It appears that ranking doesn’t exactly match up with whatever organic interest there might be in the book’s actual contents.
As Nick Confessore, a New York Times reporter, points out, the RNC previously denied having purchased Don Jr.’s book in bulk. Incredibly, when Confessore followed up and asked about the FEC filing that showed a $94,800 Books-a-Million expenditure in October, the RNC said it stood by its original statement. Don Jr. and his brother have turned to other avenues to shill copies as well, allegedly asking Trump Tower partygoers to buy a boatload to further own the libs. (The Trump brothers claim this was just a joke.)
When the New York Times bestseller list first displayed Don Jr. at No. 1, it did so with a dagger symbol meant to indicate a strong likelihood of “bulk purchases.” Even the insinuation infuriated right-wingers—Fox News, for instance, quickly published a report entitled, “Donald Trump Jr. book ‘Triggered’ would be #1 even without bulk sales, source says.” The source is identified as someone “close to Trump Jr.” who confidently proclaimed that “the asterisk-like disclaimer is irrelevant and ‘Triggered’ would be first on the Times’ list regardless of books that were purchased by the Republican National Committee for its donors.” This assertion did not age very well.
It’s not just that the RNC bought Don Jr.’s books in bulk to skyrocket its esteemed failson to New York Times bestseller status—there are, remarkably, additional layers to the saga. For one, if the RNC is buying Trump Jr.’s books, it means the money is coming directly from donors. This almost got Don Sr. in trouble once upon a time, when roughly $55,000 in campaign funds were used up in 2016 to help sell his own book. As The Daily Beast then reported, while a political candidate, Don Sr. could not accept royalties for his big boost in sales. The Trump campaign declined to divulge to The Daily Beast whether he actually followed that rule.
Don Jr., who hasn’t yet embarked on his own path to elected office, presumably is not held to the same legal standard. Lucky for him! And the RNC, which bought the book in bulk at a cheaper price, then “gave away” signed copies of said book for at least $50 a pop, which is quite the profit margin if you play your cards right.