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Trump set to do at least 12 book interviews in the coming weeks

POLITICO logo POLITICO 3/18/2021 By Meridith McGraw and Gabby Orr
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to sit for a dozen interviews in the coming weeks. © AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to sit for a dozen interviews in the coming weeks.

Get ready for the Donald Trump book barrage.

The former president is scheduled to sit for a dozen interviews in the coming weeks with authors examining his presidency, some of whom are penning sequels to books they published during Trump’s time in office, according to four people familiar with his plans.

The sheer number of book interviews is so massive that some in his orbit worry he may be doing too many and hurting his ability to monetize his own recollections for a book of his own, should he choose to write one.

In the coming weeks, Trump is expected to meet with several reporters who spent years tracking his political ambitions or covering his presidency and quest for reelection. The list includes The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters as well as Maggie Haberman; The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender; ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Jon Karl; “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” author Michael Wolff; and Washington Post journalists Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. Some of the authors are capitalizing on the success of their previous Trump books — and the continued interest in his time occupying the White House — by writing a sequel.

One aide cautioned that the interview list is not set in stone and Trump could still back out on speaking with any of these authors, all of whom will have to venture to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, for their time with the 45th president. But the former president has already sat for some of the interviews.

“We are not discussing particulars of any individual book interviews that Trump is giving but it’s safe to say that he remains the hottest name in politics and he’s the interview that everyone wants,” said senior adviser Jason Miller. “We’re tracking nearly three dozen post-presidency books where he will be the star.”

The ex-president will not be alone in the interviews. Two sources familiar with the planning said Miller and Trump spokesperson Margo Martin are expected to monitor the individual interviews, which will span the next six weeks. Trump landed himself in hot water last year after he agreed to 18 taped interviews with veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward, whose best-selling book “Rage” featured a conversation in which the former president admitted to playing down the novel Covid-19 virus so as not “to create a panic.” The controversy unfolded right as the government’s Covid-19 task force was working to convince the public that the president had appropriately responded to the pandemic.

Trump’s involvement in so many works will likely facilitate a mad dash among publishing houses to get books out to the public. It also suggests that the former president is keen on keeping his name in the political conversation with the 2024 election on the far horizon. Those who have worked with Trump in the past are hardly surprised.

“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 s on it through and think he has the power to manipulate the authors and try to influence them,” said former senior White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman, who wrote the best-seller “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” after being ousted from the West Wing in late 2017.

The president, who sat down for book interviews during his time in the White House and penned half a dozen books with the assistance of a ghostwriter prior to then, was enthusiastic to get involved in books looking back at his time in the Oval, according to one person familiar with his thinking on the matter. Trump took issue with many of the books written about his presidency from outside observers and disgruntled former aides and famously offered his own scathing reviews on Twitter.

It’s important for him to control his own narrative and utilize these mediums to share his thoughts and correct the record,” said a former Trump aide.

Trump may write an account of his own, according to one person familiar with his thinking, although there are no immediate plans or discussions. In the meantime, there has been no shortage of tell-alls from West Wing aides or people in Trump’s orbit including former national security adviser John Bolton, former FBI director James Comey, Trump campaign aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, and former press secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders. Some of Trump’s most loyal allies are also working on books of their own now that he is no longer in office, including former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and his eldest son Don Jr. wrote two political books while his father was in office.

Over 1,000 titles have been published about Trump since he entered office, according to NPD, which tracks book sales.

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