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The rumors have been confirmed: Donald Trump Jr.’s Triggered topped the New York Times’ best-seller list with help from bulk-book purchases. The Republican National Committee (RNC) spent nearly $100,000 on copies of Triggered right before its release, and a New York Times reporter has the receipts to prove it.
“New FEC disclosures show a single large RNC payment of $94,800 to Books-a-Million in October, a few days before Triggered was released. An RNC spokesman confirmed that the expenditure was connected to their promotion of Don Trump Jr.’s book,” New York Times reporter Nick Confessore wrote, along with an image of the form.
New FEC disclosures show a single large RNC payment of $94,800 to Books-a-Million in October, a few days before "Triggered" was released. An RNC spokesman confirmed that the expenditure was connected to their promotion of Don Trump Jr.'s book. pic.twitter.com/vsmmsgrYCp— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 21, 2019
In the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) disclosure, the RNC’s “purpose of disbursement” (reason for spending all that cash) was listed as “donor mementos.” Books-A-Million has Triggered on sale online for $23.09 a pop, which means the RNC purchased around 4,000 copies of Trump Jr.’s book.
However, when asked by Confessore whether or not it made bulk purchases of the book, a spokesperson for the RNC denied the allegation.
“An RNC spokesman previously told us ‘We haven’t made a large bulk purchase, but are ordering copies to keep up with demand.’ I asked today how that squares with buying almost a hundred grand worth of books on a single day. Answer: ‘We stand by our statement,’” Confessore added in a follow-up tweet.
An RNC spokesman previously told us "We haven’t made a large bulk purchase, but are ordering copies to keep up with demand."— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 21, 2019
I asked today how that squares with buying almost a hundred grand worth of books on a single day.
Answer: "We stand by our statement."
Twitter users were both baffled and outraged by the revelation.
“Why is the RNC promoting a private citizen’s book?” Twitter user @BitterDickery questioned.
Why is the RNC promoting a private citizen’s book?— BitterDickery ™ (@BitterDickery) November 21, 2019
Another questioned if the move was even legal.
Is that even legal? Seems like pilfering of campaign funds.— Bob Anderson (@rwa_) November 21, 2019
Grifters gonna grift and Republican voters are all for it.— I’m Reading the Lines (@waxingcrecent) November 21, 2019
I wonder how donors feel about their money used to buy Don Jr's book. Oops, hope they don't get "Triggered"— CarolB (@CarolB46181638) November 21, 2019
Confessore later explained the deal was mutually beneficial for the RNC and Trump Jr. The RNC’s bulk buying of Triggered helped it raise about half-a-million dollars, according to Confessore.
“A win-win for the Trumps and the RNC. Party raised about $500,000 off of the promotion, owing to donor interest in Triggered. 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,” he wrote.
A win-win for the Trumps and the RNC. Party raised about $500,000 off of the promotion, owing to donor interest in "Triggered." 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.— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 21, 2019
Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us debuted No. 1 on the New York Times‘ best-seller list when it was released in early November and has remained there for two weeks straight.
- Trump Jr. ranked No. 1 on best-seller list—after the GOP gave away copies of his book
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H/T Nick Confessore
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.