January 31, 2017
Donald Trump has an embarrassing shit library
by Chad Felix
As we’ve already pointed out here and here, Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States, is not what you’d call a literary man. While Barack Obama, the indie-book-slingin’ president of our time, was in the habit of personally recommending books to readers around the world, speaking at length about their profound influence on his life, and even penning some critically-acclaimed ones himself, Donald Trump prefers threatening his ghost writer, getting extremely upset about cable TV, not climbing stairs (even though he totally can), and, as a picture that circulated on Twitter last week makes clear, curating embarrassing shit libraries.
Last week was absolutely rife with alarming news—most notably, the unconstitutional immigration ban—and this leaked photograph of the entrance to the Old State Department Library under Trump can rightly be labeled small potatoes. But it wasn’t nothing. All politics aside, it made something very clear: we’ve elected a tasteless, narcissistic buffoon.
The bookcase in the picture is the first thing you see when you enter the library, according Christopher Hayes, who tweeted the photo after receiving it from a White House contact. The bookcase is sparsely decorated and features exclusively books authored by Donald Trump. Faced out are two copies of The Art of the Deal, a single copy of Trump 101, a single copy of The Midas Touch, which was written with Robert T. Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame), two copies of Crippled America (one hardcover, one audiobook), and two copies of Great Again.
Eight books. Five titles. That’s all, folks.
The internet was swift to make good fun of this crummy display. New York’s beloved bookstore The Strand even offered to lend a helping hand. But as Esquire’s Jack Holmes points out, “This is just one bookshelf in a large library. The rest of it is still presumably filled with books not authored by the president.” Still, the affront is at least as much, if not more, about volume as it is about curation. Holmes continues, “This is now the main attraction as you walk in. After all, the most important Books of State must enjoy prominence.”
A wise man once said: if you go home with a person, and they don’t have any books, don’t fuck them. What if they do have some books, but only ones that bear their own name and face? And what if that face is the face of a fascist, a racist, a misogynist, a climate-change denier? What then?
Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.