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Politics There's a formula to writing a blockbuster White House insider account

12:06  18 september  2020
12:06  18 september  2020 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

What can the bank do with my account?

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First, leave. Ideally, be fired in a storm of tweets and a cloud of controversy. Second, deliver a killer new anecdote, preferably one that mixes proximity to power with mind-wilting triviality. Three, explain that mistakes were made, but not by you. Four, sit back and count the cash.

a close up of a piece of paper: WhiteHouse.jpg © Provided by Washington Examiner WhiteHouse.jpg

The art of the insider book deal has been perfected by a string of former White House officials amid an apparently insatiable demand from readers.

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The past month has brought the publication of books by President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, his former spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, and a former adviser to the first lady. Add that to a recent tell-all family history by his psychologist niece (not so much fired as losing out under the terms of a will) that sold 950,000 copies on its first day of publication, plus a slew of books by journalists, supporters, and assorted hangers-on, and the result is a surge in reading matter as the country enters a new chapter in the Trump story with the November election.

They join an already expansive reading list that includes everyone from John Bolton, James Comey, and Anthony Scaramucci to Omarosa Newman, a contestant on The Apprentice who followed Trump to his campaign and then the White House.

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Read enough of them, and the tricks to delivering a Trump bestseller become apparent. The first is to get out. Ideally amid the sort of presidential Twitter fury that suggests you know where the bodies are buried.

But even leaving as gracefully as Sanders managed when she stepped down from her role as press secretary works, so long as you have some juicy inside-the-limousine banter.

Take this example from her memoir Speaking for Myself, in which she described how the president offered Kim Jong Un a Tic Tac during their Singapore summit in 2018 before suggesting his spokeswoman would have to go to North Korea and take “one for the team.”

“Kim Jong Un hit on you,” Trump told Sanders in the presidential limousine back to the airport. “He did. He f---ing hit on you.”

Nuclear-armed leaders? Check. Small mint? Check. Whiff of scandal? Check.

In the same way, Cliff Sims hit the mark with a nuclear Armageddon-based soft drink anecdote, describing how Trump would notice visitors to the Oval eyeing a small button on a wooden box on his desk. He’d gently slide it away from him, saying: “No one wants me to push that button.”

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With the gag set up, he would wait.

“Then, later in the conversation, out of nowhere, he'd suddenly press the button,” writes Sims. “Not sure what to do, guests would look at one another with raised eyebrows.”

Trump would apparently dissolve into laughter when a steward arrived bearing a glass of Diet Coke.

But the real aim, as with any memoir, is to offer a version of history in which the writer emerges as the true hero. Or at least to ensure that no one else survives with reputation intact.

Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, offered a master class in the scorched-earth approach. He managed to dis almost everyone else he passed on the way up and then down. Even relatively unblemished figures such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “had no idea what he was talking about” on Syria, Nikki Haley was “untethered” at the United Nations, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s “axis of adults” failed to keep Trump in line and instead made the president suspicious and erratic in equal measure.

Such juicy gobbets, or point three, ensured that Bolton easily managed point four. He was reportedly paid 2 million dollars by Simon & Schuster for The Room Where it Happened.

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His position at the heart of the administration meant it sold more than 780,000 in its first week, illustrating audience hunger for all things Trump. Even Comey’s rather dry affair A Higher Loyalty was an instant blockbuster, selling 600,000 copies in its first seven days.

But not everyone fared so well. Sean Spicer managed to sell only 6,000 hardcover copies of The Briefing in its first week, perhaps the result of appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to announce that his book would be far from a tell-all.

Perhaps there’s a fifth rule: The best way of teasing expectations is to stay out of sight.

Tags: News, Donald Trump, White House, Books, John Bolton, Jim Mattis, Sarah Sanders

Original Author: Rob Crilly

Original Location: There's a formula to writing a blockbuster White House insider account

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This is interesting!