Donald Trump biographer Robert Slater revealed in a 2005 lecture that he removed unflattering details from the book at Trump's request.
Slater, who wrote No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump, said in the talk at the Library of Congress that Trump asked him to remove a detail about his divorce and to change the cover because Trump thought it made him look fat.
"Now, the real hazard of writing a book about Donald Trump, after you remove the threat of the lawsuit, is when he says to you, 'Bob, if I like this book, I'm going to buy a huge number of them,' said Slater, who died in 2014. "By the way, because we're in whatever company that you're not allowed to use those words, he did not use the word 'huge.' Privately, later I'll tell you what he said."
Slater said his publisher, Pearson, was thrilled with the notion of Trump buying a large amount of books.
"And I took this back to my publisher and I said, 'We have a problem. Donald Trump wants to buy a lot of our books, if he likes it.' The publisher said, 'Oh, that's great. How do we get him to do that?' I said, 'Well, you know, he's not going to buy the books unless he likes the book. And he's not going to know whether he likes the book unless he reads the book. And we're not supposed to do that, are we? Show the book to the subject beforehand.'"
The publisher, Slater said, agreed to show Trump the book in advance of its release.
"And so we showed him the book, and Donald Trump read the book, read every word of it. And he got back to me, and maybe one percent of the book he asked me to change," said Slater. "Very hard to say no to him, once you've said, 'Donald, please read the book.' He asked me to take out an anecdote that he had told me on the plane flying to Chicago about how he had informed his second wife that he was going to divorce her by announcing it first to the New York Post."
"Greatest anecdote anybody has ever told me," continued Slater. "He put the newspaper down in front of her door that said, 'Donald is Divorcing Marla.' That's how she learned about the divorce. He said that episode has to be taken out of the book. I said, 'Why? It's the greatest anecdote's anybody ever told me.' He said, 'Because I still have good relations with her. You know, we had a daughter together. Please take it out of the book.' So I did." But I learned the hard way. You pay a very heavy price when you show him the book."
Slater said Trump showed the book to his friends as well at his wedding, who said he looked fat on the cover.
"He called me; the first day of his honeymoon. He said, 'Hi, Bob,' he said, 'I'm on the first day of my honeymoon, here at Mar-A-Lago, and I just wanted to tell you things."'
"I wanted to let you know that I heard reports about the book at the wedding," continued Trump. "And I wanted to tell you, they all loved the book, but they hated the picture on the cover." I said, 'What's wrong with the picture, Donald?' He said, 'They tell me it makes me look fat.' I said, 'That wasn't our intention.' He said, 'I know, I know. But you've got to change the picture.'
Slater said the cover was changed at Trump's request and that Trump helped with promotion of the book by getting him booked on the Don Imus Show.
"Now, all of you who know Donald Trump know that the last thing you want to do is to make him look fat. I went to my publisher. It was very, very last minute. We were about to print the book, and I said, 'Look. Donald wants to change the picture.' And again, these are the hazards of writing a book about a person like Trump, and getting his cooperation, and being sucked into his world. And the publisher said, 'it's going to cost me money, but I guess we have to do it.' And we did it. We changed the picture. We changed some of the texts. And then the book came out. And true to his word, Donald Trump helped with the promotion of the book. He actually was the one who got me on the Don Imus program."
The book is sold in Trump Tower today.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
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