Where is Trump’s book deal? His paid speeches?

One of the features of American political life is that after leaving high office, politicians cash in by publishing books. Another lucrative activity is giving highly paid speeches to big corporations, Wall Street firms, and other wealthy organizations, with the Clintons and the Obamas being notable examples of how to become spectacularly rich doing so. These speech gigs are really a form of legalized bribery, for the sponsors of these events to gain access and curry favor wit, people who can do favors for them through their contacts in government or when they cycle back into government after the next election. Other people who served in administrations, such as current treasury secretary Janet Yellen and secretary of state Anthony Blinken, went the same route during the Trump era and can make even more money when their current time in office ends.

But we have not as yet seen Trump give any paid speeches, though I do not know if the CPAC paid him for his one outing so far. Given how he and his family are notorious for their money-grubbing even while he was in office and used their positions to advance their personal fortunes, I am surprised that he and his brood have not hit the book and lecture circuit already. It is true that he was only kicked out of the White House five weeks ago but normally by now one would have heard rumors of bidding wars for the memoirs of an ex-president and that he had signed up with one of the agencies that arrange these speeches. I am little puzzled by the lack of any news about Trump’s efforts on those fronts.

Are major book publishers leery of being associated with him, that doing so would taint their brand? I doubt it. There are enough MAGAheads out there who would buy a Trump ghost-written book that they could anticipate selling enough to bury any scruples.

Are the big money sources nervous about having him give speeches since there is no telling what he will say? The Clintons and the Obamas know how to play the game: make a short speech giving some bland policy prescriptions mixed in with some soaring rhetoric and praise for the funders of the event. Nobody really cares what they say, they just want access to them by schmoozing before and after the event. But Trump is unpredictable. He may treat the occasion like one of his campaign rallies and go on an extended rant about whatever got his goat that morning and throw in the gratuitous racist, sexist, and homophobic comments that gain him such applause at his rallies.

While some big corporations that are in the retail business may fear a backlash for booking Trump, many large ones such as those in the defense and aerospace sector do not deal directly with the public and can afford to curry favor with Trump just in case he does return to power, as can wealthy Republican organizations.

So what gives? Why isn’t Trump on the money trail?


  1. Bruce says

    I think Trump can never do a book of speeches unless it is ghostwritten.
    Just read a bit of a Trump speech transcript. Essentially it’s all just incomplete sentence fragments, where the object of the sentence is implied. While he made this work in a live speech, nobody could read it from paper. He will likely hire some underpaid understudies of Stephen Miller to ghostwrite transcripts of his speeches into actual sentences, but he needs to figure all that out before he can start getting the publishers advances he craves.

  2. robert79 says

    I can think of some reasons:
    -- He’s still too busy pretending he’s the president, instead of the ex-president, and he sees these kind of deals as something that ex-presidents do.
    -- He thinks doing these deals would associate him too much with the elite/swamp/business-as-usual stuff that he thinks his supporters think he’s the counter to, and he’s still hoping at reelection.
    -- He doesn’t get a large cheering MAGA crowd, and he likes those.
    -- He’s too busy golfing.
    -- Nobody with money or brains actually wants to hear Trump open his mouth, so he’s not getting invited.

  3. raven says

    Where is Trump’s book deal?

    Ask his ghost writer.
    AFAWK, nothing Trump has written has ever actually been written by Trump.

    I’m sure a Trump book will be along, ghost written, and will be widely popular among his supporters.
    The vast majority of which, won’t bother to read it.

    I’m also sure there will be no mention of the 520,000 and going up Covid-19 USA dead people, some of whom I knew.

  4. raven says

    I’m wondering when and where we will have a monument to the victims of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.
    There will be one or more likely a whole lot of them sooner or later.

    The death toll will be over 600,000 and just about everyone knows someone who died from it by now.

  5. flex says

    I think the answer is in his mental image of himself.

    He can’t write, or have written, a book at the moment because the ending of the book would be that he failed to win a second term. Any book written, or ghost written, by him would conclude with a failure, and he can’t accept or admit that he failed.

    Until he finds a way to explain why, in the largest turnout in history, more citizens voted against him than for him, he can’t write that book.

    Until he can explain how candidates in Georgia, who he personally endorsed, failed to win, he can’t write that book.

    Until he can explain how the capitol insurrection was not only legally justified, but also was successful in restoring him to the presidency, he can’t write that book.

    There was an interview with Luntz, I think it was posted on this site, where Luntz talked about election night, where Trump was winning the popular vote, and how it changed over the next few days to Trump losing the popular vote and electoral college. Luntz said that Trump, even though he was warned ahead of time that there would be a blue shift in votes as they were all counted over the next couple days, Trump remained with the belief that he was a winner because of those few hours where he was ahead. Luntz suggested that Trump never left that position, that Trump is still there, that he will not, or will ever acknowledge that counting all the votes made him lose.

    If Trump never moves beyond the idea that the election was stolen, Trump will rapidly fade into obscurity. Until he has some way to make that very public failure into a success, he will never allow that book to be written.

  6. publicola says

    Trump can explain everything and anything in his tried and true manner: he’ll lie, and people will believe.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    I think flex@5 and robert79@2 are on the money. One additional possibility, the one that immediately leapt to my mind: no President I can remember has ever left office the target of so many lawsuits. While most of his life has been marked by conspicuous consumption and bragging about how very, very rich he is, right now it’s in his interests to give the impression, at least outwardly, that he has no money at all and is in fact in monstrous debt and therefore not worth suing. He can’t sustain that pretence if he’s swanning around taking well-paid speaking gigs. I expect his speech to CPAC actually cost him money, at least if you ask his accountant(s). It’s certainly a wheeze the rich try on a pretty regular basis.

    Bear in mind also that he’s probably in the early stages of getting another divorce, which again would make him want to appear to have nothing so the ex can’t take it. The usual playbook in such cases is to fend off the lawsuit, plead poverty when you lose, pay nothing or some piddling amount, and then after all the papers are signed suddenly find that billion you lost down the back of the sofa.

  8. Mano Singham says


    Not necessarily. With high profile people, publishers will often first agree on the deal and decide roughly what the book will contain and the book is written later. They will even select the most appropriate ghost-writer for the ‘author’.

  9. machintelligence says

    His latest cease and desist order for the various Republican committees to prevent unauthorized use of his name and image gives us a clue. He wants them to pay a licensing fee.
    Apparently they aren’t buying, though. They have told his attorney that he is a public figure and that Trump can put his cease and desist orders where the sun don’t shine. (More politely and in legalese, of course.)

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