When Donald Trump Jr.’s book Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us was released last November it immediately rocketed to the top of the New York Times‘s bestseller list. President Trump and his son were ecstatic, with the latter crediting the “deplorables” — Hillary Clinton’s obnoxious description of Trump’s base — for the book’s success in one of his tweets.
But it wasn’t just the Trump base that was buying the book. The Times and other media outlets soon reported that the Republican National Committee had bulk ordered the book, and that other GOP groups and candidates had as well. They gave signed copies of the book to GOP donors as “mementos,” so the party made money on the sales and Trump Jr. made a nice chunk of change on book royalties on the bulk purchases.
The Times said that the RNC had spent about $100,000 to buy copies of “Triggered,” including a single day purchase of $94,800 from Books-A-Million on October 29, a week before it went on sale. “While it’s not uncommon for books to be sold for fund-raising purposes by Republican and Democratic committees, the R.N.C.’s ‘Triggered’ purchase is unusual in that the committee is promoting a book written by a candidate’s son who isn’t a politician and isn’t running for office,” the Times wrote.
Mike Reed, an RNC spokesman, initially denied that the Committee had made any bulk purchases and was simply “ordering copies to keep up with demand…Each book is sold to an individual who supports the Republican Party.”
“Triggered” would have surely become a bestseller anyway given the president’s promotion of the book and Jr.’s fan base in Trump World, but the RNC did make bulk purchases — and a lot more than has previously been disclosed — in an arrangement that raised money for the party and Trump Jr., and that skewed book sales upwards.
Checking through post-October Federal Election Commission filings shows that GOP groups spent at least another $600,000 — mostly in November and December but with purchases continuing at least into January — in bulk orders. And that’s probably a major understatement because there’s no central search mechanism to find all the orders. You have to skim through countless individual records looking for purchases made by GOP groups from book stores around the country.
In addition to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and various GOP candidates also made bulk orders. So did the Republican Party of Texas, the American Victory PAC, which is affiliated with former Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, and America First Action, a pro-Trump Super PAC.
There’s nothing illegal about the arrangements, but the bulk orders certainly boosted Trump Jr.’s sales and royalty income. It’s yet another way, albeit a relatively minor one, that Republican groups have funneled money into the First Family’s pockets.