Donald Trump Jr. bragged that his new book shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list this week, but literary insiders say there was a bit of sleight of hand at play with his big debut.
The eldest son of President Donald Trump took aim at the political left in the book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants To Silence Us, which calls out what Trump Jr. sees as political censorship of conservative figures. The book appeared to be an instant hit, shooting to the top of the non-fiction listing in the New York Times.
But as Page Six noted, the listing for the book came with a telltale symbol of potential manipulation — a dagger, the rarely used symbol that denotes bulk purchases of the book often used to manipulate sales numbers.
The outlet suggested that Trump Jr. himself may have orchestrated the bulk purchases, and noted that some major backers of President Trump reportedly had a hand in it. The Republican National Committee had been reported to have made bulk purchases, and while the committee denied having made a bulk purchase, it did note that copies were being given away to donors.
“We haven’t made a large bulk purchase, but are ordering copies to keep up with demand,” the RNC said in a statement to Page Six. “Each book is sold to an individual who supports the Republican Party … Using books as a means to fundraise is standard practice from political parties on both sides of the aisle.”
The reports that Trump Jr. may have used bulk purchases to inflate sales numbers has earned some mockery among his and President Trump’s critics, who accused Trump allies of making the purchases in order to boost the stature of the president’s son. Trump Jr. has been positioned as a potential rising star in the Republican Party, with reports that he is considering running for office one day.
Confirmed: @DonaldJTrumpJr made the NYT bestseller list thanks to "institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases" (the meaning of that cross symbol, per the NYT); in other words, it looks like his dad and the GOP bought him a bestseller so he could put it on his resume pic.twitter.com/IfZZOqI7yl
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) November 14, 2019
Trump Jr. himself has pushed back against the denotation that there were bulk purchases of his book, suggesting during an appearance on Fox & Friends that it was a conspiracy against conservatives on the part of the New York Times in order to lessen their numbers. He claimed that other books written by conservative authors had their numbers deflated by the newspaper.
Donald Trump Jr says the New York Times flagging his book for benefitting from bulk sales is a liberal media conspiracy pic.twitter.com/0HpH22OOyM
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 15, 2019
Trump Jr. added that even without the bulk sales from the RNC, his book still would have landed on the No. 1 spot on the best-seller list.