Omarosa Unhinged: Fact or fiction, publishers will care little as Trump continues to dominate book charts

By Luke Christou

Regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump’s leadership abilities, the President of the United States is a hot topic.

A quick look at the best-selling book charts on Amazon reveals just that. Among an endless stream of self-help books and literary classics are a number of books focused solely on Trump and his many alleged flaws, controversies and the conspiracies that surround him.

The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hilary and Frame Donald Trump currently sits in sixth place, with Fear: Trump in the White and Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy also in the top 20.

Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House will undoubtedly join those titles tomorrow, as Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s exposé hits the shelves.

Pre-orders alone have placed Unhinged in 26th place. If the success of journalist Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is anything to go by, Omarosa will become a best-selling author tomorrow.

Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House

Omarosa served as the Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison in Trump’s White House. She earned that role thanks to her work on reality television show The Apprentice, which was headed by Trump at the time.

Her time in the White House was almost synonymous to her appearance on season 13 of the hit show: a good start, followed by heated arguments with Trump’s inner circle, which ultimately led to Omarosa being given the boot.

Chief of Staff John Kelly brought her White House spell to an end in December 2017.

She claims she resigned. The Trump administration claims to have fired her. Regardless, her time under Trump ended on bad terms. Unhinged is the result of those turbulent 12 months.

Simon & Schuster, the publisher behind Unhinged, describes it as “an eye-opening look into the corruption and controversy of the current administration”, as the former White House staffer provides her tell-all account of Trump’s time in government.

The accusations fired at Trump in the book range from racism to misogamy – hardly surprising after a year of Trump headlines. The more bizarre tales range from a tanning bed in the White House to Trump asking to be sworn in over a copy of his own book, Art of the Deal, rather than the Bible.

“It’s the greatest business book of all time. It’s how I’m going to make great deals for the country,” she claims Trump said. “Just think how many copies I’d sell – maybe a commemorative inauguration copy?!”

Trump, of course, has branded Omarosa a “lowlife”. Likewise, a senior White House official has accused Omarosa of writing a book that is “riddled with lies and false accusations”.

Truth or tale

Trump is big news. The endless stream of Trump-related headlines are evidence of that. Of course, he doesn’t help himself, but sometimes they’re nothing short of unnecessary.

Here are a few headlines from Trump’s time in office so far:

Omarosa Unhinged - Verdict

Having the word Trump in the headline is a quick ticket to traffic. I would know. See some of my own contributions to the Trump Train below:

From Rocket Man to McMuffin: The many nicknames that Trump has dished out during his time in office

Breaking down the myths around Donald Trump’s fortune

Trump and the opioid crisis: The numbers behind the US drugs epidemic

Fire and Fury: ‘Fake it until you make it’ and 12 other leadership tips from Donald Trump book

People want to read about Trump and the more absurd or unusual the story, the better it performs. Writers and publishers will know that all too well.

That isn’t to say that books like Wolff’s Fire and Fury are entirely untrue. However, you should take tales of Trump scoffing McDonald’s burgers in bed with a pinch of salt. They certainly add some flavour to the story, but like a lot of fast food, you can never be sure that what you’re eating is meat and not some processed rubbish.

There is no denying that Trump is an odd character at the best of times, and a deplorable one at the worst. His misogyny has been captured on camera for all to see and his Twitter stream exposes him at times as the opposite of the “very stable genius” that he claims to be.

However, according to PolitiFact, a political fact-checking project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, many parts of Wolff’s book are incorrect, don’t add up, or lack a source.

For example, Wolff claimed that Trump didn’t know who former House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner was in 2016. However, Trump referenced Boehner in a Tweet in 2015. Likewise, the author has also avoided answering questions about his sources.

As Trump will tell you, the media is always against him. However, in this case, many journalists accused Wolff of fabrication.

Among his allegations was that Trump was having an affair with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. In response, Erik Wemple of the Washington Post said that Wolff was engaging in a “multimedia slime job”. Bari Weiss of The New York Times accused Wolff of spreading “evidence-free detail”.

Fake news: Who really cares?

Trump cares. The President has tweeted about “fake news” more times than anything else since taking to the Oval Office. However, he seems to be largely alone.

Despite its apparent inaccuracies, American readers sent Fire and Fury straight to the top of the US book charts.

Wolff’s book outsold any other nonfiction title between the releases of Bill O’Reilly and Bruce Feirstein’s Old School: Life in the Sane Lane and Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

In its first seven weeks, Fire and Fury recorded around 900,000 sales.

In the same period, What Happened by Trump’s presidential election rival Hillary Clinton was the second fastest seller. It sold just under 400,000 sales in a seven week period. That is according to NPD BookScan, the leading data provider in the book publishing industry.

At $30 a copy, the price Fire and Fury was listed at upon release, Wolff’s book, whether fact or fiction, would have made $27m in sales. It’s no wonder that insiders are more than willing to tell their stories and publishers are happy to get on board.

Since Fire and Fury released in January 2018, pubisher Macmillan has published One Nation After Trump, written by a collection of political journalists, and Truly Totally Trump, a collection of Trump insults.

Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, an inside look at the Trump administration by Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, will undoubtedly be another bestseller when it releases. So too will Martha Brockenbrough’s Unpresidented, a “provocative biography of Donald J. Trump”.

Likewise, Simon & Schuster, the publisher behind Unhinged, is also doubling down on Trump texts this year. The company will publish some 20 Trump-related books throughout 2018. That includes Omarosa’s offerings and Fear: Trump in the White House, a top 10 title by American journalist Bob Woodward.

A reality television star showing signs of mental decline in the most powerful position in the world. It writes itself, and given Trump’s dominance in the bestsellers charts, publishers will care little whether it’s fact or fiction.