The Republican National Committee spent nearly $100,000 buying up Donald Trump Jr.’s new book before it landed on the New York Times best-seller list.
President Trump praised his son’s book, Triggered,” after it debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
But the ranking came under fire after the New York Times denoted it with a small dagger symbol, which it uses in the event of “institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases.”
No other book on the list included the symbol.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement to the New York Times denying that it “made a large bulk purchase” of the book.
“We haven’t made a large bulk purchase, but are ordering copies to keep up with demand,” RNC spokesperson Mike Reed told The Times. “Each book is sold to an individual who supports the Republican Party.”
But they did bulk purchase:
New York Times reporter Nick Confessore tweeted a Federal Election Commission filing showing that the RNC dropped more than $94,000 at Books-a-Million, which it said was for “donor mementos.”
Reed confirmed to the reporter that the purchase, which came a week before the book’s release, was in connection to the RNC’s “promotion of Don Trump Jr.’s book.”
“A win-win for the Trumps and the RNC. Party raised about $500,000 off of the promotion, owing to donor interest in ‘Triggered,’” Confessore tweeted. “Guesstimating off the Books-a-Million discount price, Don Jr. could have sold around 4,000 books. Doesn't take too much more to hit the list.”
RNC tried to game book sales:
The RNC insisted that their purchase was routine.
“Using books as a means to fundraise is standard practice from political parties on both sides of the aisle,” an RNC official told BuzzFeed News. “Triggered has been very popular among our supporters, helping us raise funds to support the reelection effort.”
But a literary agent told the outlet that the purchase suggested a different motive.
If the RNC "just wanted books to resell, they could have gotten them for less money, direct from the publisher," the agent said. "They spent more, of donors' money, to buy them from BooksAMillion, clearly in an effort to look like 'real' sales."