Donald Trump has taken time off from golf at Mar-a-Lago to reveal that he is currently "writing like crazy" and that, when the product finally appears, it will be (as he describes with characteristic modesty) "the book of all books."
Now, some of us think that the book of all books is the Bible but, clearly, the ex-president is in bullish mood when it comes to describing the soon-to-be-seen product of his scriptorium. Given his ongoing inability to reach his followers via Facebook and Twitter, he is clearly determined to get his views out to a wider audience than the one currently open to him. Hence the book. It would provide an opportunity to set out his stall; and also provide a launch pad for what comes next. And Trump is clearly hoping for 'a next.'
However, its road to the bookshelves might not be an easy one. According to The New York Times, Trump has claimed he has turned down two proposed book deals. Yet he is clearly confident that, when the time is right, cometh the book, cometh the publisher. In the meantime, Politico has reported that most of the five major publishing houses have intimated that they will not publish anything he writes.
As well as being a fact-checker's nightmare (or dream, if paid on piecework), many in the publishing industry do not trust Trump to play fair with them. Now, where would they have got an idea like that from? That Trump recently described publishing houses as being run by some of the "biggest sleazebags on earth" will not have endeared him to them.
As significant is the fact that, since November 2020, his increasingly strident claims of a stolen election – in the face of all objective data – culminating in the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, have made Trump a toxic brand to many mainline publishers. But Trump is certain that, when the chips are down, money will talk and he will find a publisher because such a book has the potential to sell 'bigly.'
This raises the question of just what such a book might be like? What would it contain? In January 2021, The Washington Post reported that Trump had made 30,573 false or misleading claims while he was president. Even allowing for debates over the veracity of some particular claims – and accepting that political assertions often have a less than comfortable relationship with accuracy – that's a lot of fibs.
While his most ardent supporters have shown an alarming propensity to accept anything he says (as long as it reflects their outlook), most objective commentators are of the opinion that Trump has a relationship with the truth that is, shall we say, creative. Never underestimate the artifice in Trump's behaviour. For all the appearances of having cut the cable that tethered his balloon to reality, Trump is also an instinctive operator when it comes to framing events and communicating with his base. What seems 'crazy' to some, is 'alternative truth' to others. And there are tens of millions of 'others.'
Over the past few days I have tried to put myself in the mind of Donald Trump. Here are my thoughts on what version of the 'truth' Trump may seek to present in his "book of all books":
The Book of All Books. Contents Page (well, maybe)?
Chapter 1. The fightback against 'the steal'
Here, Trump may claim that having secured a massive victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 (ignore the 'popular vote stats' discussed by Democrats), and a vast Inauguration Day crowd turnout in January 2017 (ignore the calculations put out by the fake-news outlets), defeat in November 2020 only occurred due to unprecedented voter fraud. This was made possible by falsification of mail-in ballots, voting machine mis-calibration conducted by an international conspiracy, and destruction of valid ballot papers in a large number of crucial swing states. Attempts to challenge this 'steal' were thwarted by Deep State operatives at all levels of the federal, state and security apparatus and in the fake-news media. All of this was made possible by the chaos caused by Covid-19 and the over-reaction to it by a conspiracy of scientists, media and politicians who were determined to stop the – otherwise inevitable – victory of the sitting president.
Chapter 2. Economic miracle v. the 'China virus'
Economic growth and a transformation of US society was underway as a result of massive changes to the US tax system which released the economic energies (and job creating potential) of key entrepreneurs. This was accompanied by protection of the US oil, gas and coal industries which had been threatened by the legacy of Obama and the other 'Climate Change ideologues' and their international agreements. Liberated from these constraints, the US economy was set to boom and enhance the wealth and prosperity of all US citizens. This economic progress was halted by the Covid-19 crisis, which itself was caused by the Chinese (the 'Wuhan-Lab-origins theory' is now being investigated by the Biden administration and will feature here) and by US opponents of Trump with their demands for unpatriotic lockdowns, mask-wearing and social distancing. But, paradoxically, credit for vaccine provision will be strongly claimed, alongside this downplaying of the actual health emergency itself.
Chapter 3. The defence of liberty
Robust defence of US freedoms from the intrusions embodied in Democrat-promoted expansion of federal health care provision, calls for gun control, anti-racist programmes, and environmental legislation secured the freedom of American citizens to pursue their lives without state interference. The appointment of three conservative judges to the Supreme Court will ensure the protection of this conservative agenda for decades to come. However, it must be noted that some conservative judges have failed to follow the prescribed script at times. Those defending these 'traditional freedoms and values' (including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, other unofficial militias, and the Capitol-invaders of January 2021) contain some 'very fine people.' Any Republicans who fail to recognise this should be driven from the GOP.
Chapter 4. MAGA and the world
The USA faces a host of opponents who threaten its way of life and its freedom of action. These include: so-called asylum seekers on the southern border (who provide cover for criminal intrusion into the USA), illegal immigrants working across the country, travellers from certain Muslim nations, China and its theft of intellectual property rights, and any international organisation which is deemed to be opposed to US interests (from the UN to the EU). The Trump presidency took a robust line regarding them all.
It also steered clear of 'foreign entanglements' or withdrew from them, sometimes at very short notice (Kurdish allies can vouch for this, as can those US administration officials involved in an alleged, and ultimately abortive, plan to completely withdraw from Afghanistan, and even from Europe, in the last month of the Trump presidency). Russia and Korea will be a bit harder to work into this script, given the author's occasional promotion of his unique relationship with their leaders, so this part of the draft is under review. However, there will be no ambiguity about the administration's unwavering support for Israel; its antipathy to the Iran nuclear deal; and its lack of interest in the Palestinians.
Chapter 5. Antifa, law and order (and race)
Improved work opportunities for black Americans (the black unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 % in August 2019, compared to 7.5 % when he took office) was overshadowed by the unrepresentative actions of some individual police officers. Black Lives Matter reactions to this were hijacked by criminals and Antifa in order to attempt the defunding of police, undermine law and order, and threaten the American way of life. This was part of a left wing conspiracy to cancel US history (taking down Confederate statues), lay charges of systemic racism against American society (such as in the '1619 Project' and through 'Critical Race Theory'), in order to undermine the American way of life and the fundamental fairness of US society.
Chapter 6. Traditional family values
Despite his earlier pro-choice position (expect this to be deleted from the finished manuscript), Trump's recent anti-abortion stance will be high profile, alongside his alliance with US white evangelicals and an appeal to Catholics too. This brings us to women, where the pitch will be based on the defence of families and the suburbs in the face of the perceived threat posed by the inner cities. On the subject of LGBTQ+ rights, there will probably be ambiguity or silence, as the author has no comparable high profile stance on this and is happy to leave the heavy lifting, regarding conservative outlooks on this area, to others.
Chapter 7. The final showdown...
Supporters of QAnon and the like have always majored on Trump having some crucial information which will bring down the whole Deep State elite. Military tribunals and even executions of these people were mooted in the darkest corners of the internet. This, as you may have noticed, never occurred. So, maybe, this book is where all will finally be revealed. Or not.
Disclaimer: any resemblance between the above and any book (existing, proposed, or forthcoming) is purely coincidental - or a jolly good guess.
Martyn Whittock is an evangelical and a Licensed Lay Minister in the Church of England. As an historian and author, or co-author, of fifty-two books, his work covers a wide range of historical and theological themes. In addition, as a commentator and columnist, he has written for a number of print and online news platforms; has been interviewed on radio shows exploring the interaction of faith and politics; and appeared on Sky News discussing political events in the USA. His most recent books include: Trump and the Puritans (2020), The Secret History of Soviet Russia's Police State (2020), Daughters of Eve (2021) and Jesus the Unauthorized Biography (2021).