POLITICS
11/02/2016 10:50 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2016

Does Donald Trump Read Good, Or Nah?

An exploration.
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2015, file photo, Donald Trump holds up a copy of his 1987 book, "Trump: The Art of the Deal" during
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2015, file photo, Donald Trump holds up a copy of his 1987 book, "Trump: The Art of the Deal" during his campaign town hall event at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H.

”Never miss important news from The Hill,” reads the ad copy from The Hill. Also, never miss this story, I guess:

Donald Trump has high praise for the author behind his two favorite books: himself.

When asked this week what his two favorite books are by A.J. Calloway of “Extra,” the GOP presidential nominee replied, “ ‘The Art of the Deal,’ ‘Surviving at the Top.’ “

Both books were penned by Trump in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

“I love books,” Trump said. “I love reading when I get a chance to.”

So, some good news here for Donald Trump: He got through an interview with an entertainment reporter without even once talking about “moving” on anyone “like a bitch,” or testifying to how great it is to be famous because of all the sexual assaulting. At last, we’re seeing a sign of that vaunted “pivot.”

But what are we to make of Trump’s love for his own books? Seems pretty typical. His love for reading itself? He talks a good game, that’s for sure. But what does he read, other than those two books of his? Here’s a rundown:

Trump Loves To Read About Himself

News stories about Donald Trump. Per the Washington Post’s Marc Fisher: “Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk.”

What Trump Doesn’t Read:

Presidential biographies. Fisher also reports: “Donald Trump has not read any biographies of presidents. He said he would like to someday.”

What About Long Documents?

Nope. Per Fisher: “Trump said reading long documents is a waste of time because he absorbs the gist of an issue very quickly.”

But As Much As He Likes To Read About Himself, He Doesn’t Read Too Closely

As Tony Schwarz, the guy who wrote one of Trump’s favorite books, The Art Of The Deal, told the New Yorker, Trump hired him to be his ghostwriter despite the fact that he’d written some pretty negative articles about Trump:

Around this time, Schwartz, who was one of the leading young magazine writers of the day, stopped by Trump’s office, in Trump Tower. Schwartz had written about Trump before. In 1985, he’d published a piece in New York called “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,” which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug who had unsuccessfully tried to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South. Trump’s efforts—which included a plan to house homeless people in the building in order to harass the tenants—became what Schwartz described as a “fugue of failure, a farce of fumbling and bumbling.” An accompanying cover portrait depicted Trump as unshaven, unpleasant-looking, and shiny with sweat. Yet, to Schwartz’s amazement, Trump loved the article. He hung the cover on a wall of his office, and sent a fan note to Schwartz, on his gold-embossed personal stationery. “Everybody seems to have read it,” Trump enthused in the note, which Schwartz has kept.

He Doesn’t Seem To Have Read His Own Books

As The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold reported, Trump on two occasions blamed Meredith McIver (the woman who took the blame for the plagiarized parts of Melania Trump’s convention speech) for introducing errors into two of his books: How To Get Rich and Trump 101: The Way To Success. The matter of these errors came up during a deposition for the lawsuit Trump brought against former New York Times reporter Timothy O’Brien, for his book TrumpNation

Cerseney, the attorney questioning Trump, pressed him. Trump was listed as the book’s main author. Why didn’t he catch the error in his own book?

“I didn’t see it,” Trump said, meaning the erroneous figure about his debt.

“You didn’t see it,” the attorney repeated.

“I read it very quickly. I didn’t see it,” Trump said. “I would have corrected it, but I didn’t see it.”

At Least He Read Timothy O’Brien’s Book!

Maybe! You never know!

During The 18 Months That Schwartz Observed Trump, How Many Times Did He See A Book On Trump’s Desk?

“During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk ...” 

What About In Trump’s Office?

 “... or elsewhere in his office ...”

His Apartment?

He Maybe Read ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’

Per The New Yorker:

In May, Megyn Kelly, of Fox News, asked him to name his favorite book, other than the Bible or “The Art of the Deal.” Trump picked the 1929 novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Evidently suspecting that many years had elapsed since he’d read it, Kelly asked Trump to talk about the most recent book he’d read. “I read passages, I read areas, I’ll read chapters—I don’t have the time,” Trump said.

He Also Maybe Reads Hitler

The New Yorker notes: 

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, famously claimed that Trump kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s collected speeches, “My New Order,” in a cabinet beside his bed. In 1990, Trump’s friend Marty Davis, who was then an executive at Paramount, added credence to this story, telling Marie Brenner, of Vanity Fair, that he had given Trump the book. “I thought he would find it interesting,” Davis told her.

Perhaps We Shouldn’t Worry About That

“When Brenner asked Trump about it, however, he mistakenly identified the volume as a different work by Hitler: ‘Mein Kampf.’ Apparently, he had not so much as read the title.”

But He Used To Really Like The Bible, Right?

He once gave the Bible, “two thumbs up.” And he remembered to say he liked it more than The Art Of The Deal, because that’s how you pander. (No need for that anymore, I guess.)

Oh, What Part Of The Bible Does He Really Like?

Eh, you know, he likes the part about the thing ... he doesn’t really want to get into it, man. 

He Has A High Opinion Of His Prowess With English

He told Wolf Blitzer: “I always did very nicely in English.” At least one English teacher disagreed. But what do English teachers know, anyway? What if Trump’s “secret weapon” is his “broken English?” (It would be a vastly preferable weapon for Trump to have access to than, say, the nuclear codes.)

Maybe He Can’t Read At All

This is a theory advanced by “Full Frontal’s” Samantha Bee.

Remember what Khizr Khan admonished Trump at the Democratic National Convention, “Have you even read the Constitution?” Well, maybe he can’t. Did you Trump critics ever think of that? (Probably.)

The Huffington Post

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Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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