Sales also reportedly got a boost from the Republican National Committee, which confirmed to the New York Times that it spent $94,800 last month on copies for a donor promotion.
The purchase, disclosed in a recent Federal Election Commission filing, could explain the caveat that accompanied the bestseller listing for “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us” — and prompted speculation about what propelled Trump Jr.’s book to the coveted spot. A small dagger next to the book’s blurb in the ranking indicates “institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases,” which the Times says are factored into rankings at editors’ discretion.
But the RNC denied buying in bulk when asked last week, according to the Times’ Nick Confessore, saying that it was “ordering copies to keep up with demand.”
“We stand by our statement,” the RNC told Confessore after he asked about the FEC filing showing a large Oct. 31 purchase from the bookseller Books-A-Million.
“Triggered” attacks Democrats and Trump critics and bills itself as “the book that leftist elites don’t want you to read.” The RNC has offered signed copies of Trump Jr.’s book to those who donate more than $50; spokesman Michael Joyce told BuzzFeed News that the RNC has “netted $500,000 for the party fundraising off the book.”
The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.
But on Friday, a spokesman for Trump Jr. pushed back on claims the book was only successful due to bulk buys, noting that “Triggered” also hit the top of Amazon’s nonfiction charts in its first week and saying multiple book signings sold more than 1,000 copies each.
“Don Jr. sold more books in his opening week than the number 2 and 3 nonfiction books on the New York Times list combined,” the spokesman wrote in a statement. “You could erase all of the books sold through the RNC and that would still be a fact.”
Trump. Jr. has retweeted a comment that “Media/Dems want to pretend otherwise, but he was #1 on merit.”
Sales tracker NPD BookScan reports that “Triggered” had sold more than 115,000 copies by this past weekend, according to the Times. At the $20-per-copy price listed online by Books-A-Million, the RNC’s Oct. 31 purchase would translate to about 4,700 books, although it’s unclear what the committee paid per copy.
RNC spokesman Mike Reed told the Times that the RNC bought more copies of “Triggered” this month.
“The book has been hugely popular,” Reed said.
Publisher Center Street, an imprint of Hachette, has said that demand for the book is “overwhelming.” The group did not immediately respond to an inquiry.
Other conservative authors have made news over their bestseller status, or lack thereof. In 2017, right-wing pundit Dinesh D’Souza rocketed to the top of the list before backsliding, prompting D’Souza’s publisher to boycott the Times over what it alleged to be a bias against conservative authors.
Two years earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) griped when his memoir didn’t make the list in its first week out, but the publicity his complaints generated was enough to propel the book to No. 7 in its second week — illustrating another reason conservatives might take aim at the Times list: It’s good for business.
A Times spokesperson said that standards for bestseller lists are “applied consistently, across the board” and pointed to conservative authors such as Bill O’Reilly and Tucker Carlson, who have collectively appeared on thousands of the paper’s weekly rankings.
For Trump Jr., a fascination with the No. 1 bestseller distinction runs in the family. His father — who has always been attracted to prestigious lists, whether they rank books or billionaires — has written a few bestsellers of his own. And he likes to remind people of it.
At a 2016 speech in Las Vegas, he told his audience, “I did books, many bestsellers, many.”
He name-checked his most famous, “The Art of the Deal,” and called it “one of the biggest-selling, certainly the biggest-selling business book of all time, by far.”
“So I did books,” he concluded. “Tremendous success.”