“Triggered,” the book published early this month by Donald Trump Jr., rocketed to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. But it turned out it had a special boost: The Republican National Committee spent $95,000 buying up the books, according to a campaign finance listing spotted by The New York Times.
Records from the Federal Election Commission reveal a $94,800 payment to BooksAMillion.com for “donor mementos” just days before Trump Jr.’s book was released on Nov. 5. Trump Jr. then joined an RNC fundraising email offering signed copies of the book to anyone who contributed $50 or more to the GOP.
An RNC spokesman confirmed to the Times that the BooksAMillion payment was for copies of “Triggered.”
The spokesman had insisted earlier to the Times and BuzzFeed that the RNC hadn’t made a bulk purchase of books, and said the committee was simply keeping up with demand. Asked by the Times how a single day’s $95,000 purchase of books didn’t constitute a bulk buy, the spokesman said: “We stand by our statement.”
Trump Jr.’s book title on the Times bestseller list is marked with a dagger symbol, indicating that a significant percentage of sales came from “institutional, special interest, group, or bulk purchases.”
That designation infuriated Trump Jr. and delighted critics on Twitter. It’s the only one of the top 10 hardcover nonfiction titles on the Times list marked with the bulk purchase symbol.
Trump Jr. insisted in an interview on Fox News last week that the newspaper marks a “lot of conservative books” with the dagger.
“It must have driven them crazy” to list the book, he added. “I guess that’s their way of exerting a little bit of revenge by putting an asterisk without getting into the details.”
It’s unclear how many books were purchased by the RNC, which is continuing to buy books this month, according to a spokesman.
Times reporter Nick Confessore estimated that the RNC may have purchased 4,000 books, but Trump Jr. himself said on Fox News that the RNC purchased 10,000 copies.
The Washington Post estimated that it could take as few as 5,000 books to win a spot on the Times’ bestseller list.
Merely being listed in the Times as a top seller is a huge promotion for a book. Sales tracker NPD BookScan reported that “Triggered” had sold more than 115,000 copies by this past weekend, according to the Times.
The revelation of the RNC’s big buy comes just weeks after both Trump Jr. and brother Eric slammed Hunter Biden for winning a spot on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma simply, they charged, because his father was vice president at the time. Twitter wits couldn’t help but notice the irony.