President Donald Trump has tweeted praise for nearly two dozen books shortly after watching their authors be interviewed on Fox, according to a Media Matters review of his Twitter feed and of Fox News and Fox Business programming during his presidency.
The president’s worldview and his policy and political decisions are shaped by the hours of Fox coverage he watches each day. He frequently tweets about segments that interest him in near-real time, triggering international incidents and congressional feuds.
But this Fox-Trump feedback loop also affects more mundane aspects of Trump’s behavior, including the tomes the president recommends. In fact, I first began tracking the president’s tweets against Fox’s programming after a colleague noticed that Trump had tweeted praise for a book minutes after its author appeared on Fox & Friends.
Trump is notoriously averse to reading anything but cable news chyrons. Asked about his book-reading habits in 2016, he said, “I read passages. I read -- I read areas, I read chapters. I just -- I don't have the time.” He then reeled off a list of Fox hosts whose programs he watches instead.
Those programs are frequently the source of Trump’s book recommendations, which are typically for hagiographies of Trump’s presidency, condemnations of his perceived enemies, or a combination of the two. Their authors are often Fox personalities (some of whom serve dual roles as outside presidential advisers) or former members of his campaign or administration.
Sometimes the hosts will simply mention their guests’ new book while introducing them at the top of an interview about the news of the day. Other times -- particularly on Fox & Friends, the president’s beloved morning show -- the authors appear specifically to discuss their books.
In their Fox interviews, these authors typically laud Trump and criticize his foes, catching the attention of the president, who surely knows little more about the book than what he’s seen on Fox. He then sends a tweet telling his followers to read their books, often just minutes after the segment airs.
By my count, the president has praised 23 different books a total of 27 times after seeing the book promoted on Fox.
Green Card Warrior: My Quest for Legal Immigration in an Illegals’ System by Nick Adams
Nick Adams is an Australia-born conservative commentator whose book Green Card Warrior argues that the immigration system is “rigged against the good guys” yet “illegals from Mexico and the Middle East remain unvetted, undocumented and welcome.”
Adams appeared on Fox & Friends to promote the book on the morning of March 3, 2017.
Roughly 20 minutes later, Trump tweeted that his book is “a must read.”
Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide by Michael Knowles
Michael Knowles is a right-wing blogger and podcaster for Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire. His book Reasons to Vote for Democrats is blank.
Knowles appeared on Fox & Friends to promote the book on the morning of April 17, 2017.
About an hour later, Trump tweeted that it was “a great book for your reading enjoyment.”
The Art of the Donald, Lessons from America’s Philosopher-in-Chief by Christopher Bedford
Christopher Bedford is editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller News Foundation. According to publisher’s notes, The Art of the Donald “takes you inside the new president’s unorthodox mind, unlocking the genius of his approach to everything in life and offering you insight into navigating life the Trump way.”
Bedford appeared on Fox & Friends to promote the book on the morning of October 10, 2017.
Half an hour later, Trump tweeted that Bedford is “highly respected” and had produced a “really good book.”
Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America's Destiny by Brian Kilmeade
Brian Kilmeade is a longtime co-host of Fox & Friends who once tried to roast marshmallows over an open fire with a plastic spoon. Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans is his book about then-Gen. Jackson’s campaign during the War of 1812.
Kilmeade discussed the book during the December 7, 2017, edition of Fox & Friends.
Within the hour, Trump tweeted, “Go get the new book on Andrew Jackson by Brian Kilmeade...Really good.”
Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise To The Presidency by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie
Corey Lewandowski was Trump’s campaign manager from its start until he was fired in June 2016. David Bossie, a right-wing dirty tricks specialist, was Trump’s deputy campaign manager during the campaign’s final months and became a Fox contributor after the election. The New York Times described their campaign memoir as “a combination of over-the-top praise for their candidate, nostalgic remembrances of glory days and rewarding aides they liked and score-settling with their enemies.”
Lewandowski appeared on Fox & Friends Weekend on the morning of December 16, 2017.
A few hours later, Trump tweeted congratulations for the book.
The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics by Salena Zito and Brad Todd
In The Great Revolt, conservative journalist Salena Zito and Republican strategist Brad Todd detail the “populist coalition” that elected Trump and postulate that his election will create a political realignment.
They appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss their book on the morning of May 7, 2018.
A few hours later, Trump tweeted that the book “does much to tell the story of our great Election victory” and quoted from a chyron that aired during their interview.
The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump by Gregg Jarrett
Gregg Jarrett is a Fox legal analyst who revived his moribund career by becoming the go-to interviewee for hosts who want to put a legal gloss on their conspiracy theories about the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He details that counternarrative in The Russia Hoax.
Fox host Sean Hannity mentioned Jarrett’s then-forthcoming book while introducing him for a segment on the May 30, 2018, edition of his prime-time show.
A few hours later, Trump tweeted that the book “looks like a real deal big hit.”
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs discussed the book with Jarrett and praised it on the July 24, 2018, edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight.
An hour and a half later, Trump tweeted that it was “a great book that everyone is talking about.”
Fox’s Jeanine Pirro promoted the book while guest hosting Hannity on August 3, 2018, as a “New York Times bestseller.”
Trump praised the “great book” an hour and a half later.
9 Rules of Engagement: A Military Brat’s Guide to Life and Success by Harris Faulkner
Fox host Harris Faulkner’s 9 Rules of Engagement is “part memoir, part motivational life guide,” according to the publisher’s notes.
She appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss it on June 5, 2018.
A few hours later, Trump tweeted that the book was “terrific.”
Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against The Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Jeanine Pirro
Fox host Jeanine Pirro is a longtime friend and sometime adviser to Trump, and her show provides an enthusiastically sycophantic look at his presidency. Her book “inflicts upon the reader a frenetic conspiracy theory that absolutely obliterates all logic and does violence upon the very notion of observable truth, and effectively discredits herself by painstakingly demonstrating that she is committed solely to the mission of kissing the ass of her friend, President Donald Trump,” as Simon Maloy noted in a review.
Hannity referenced Pirro’s book while introducing her during the June 21, 2018, edition of his Fox show.
Early the next morning, Trump tweeted that the book was “fantastic,” telling his followers, “Go get it!”
Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump by Dan Bongino and D.C. McAllister
Dan Bongino is a former Secret Service agent turned thrice-failed Republican congressional candidate turned right-wing commentator at NRATV and Fox. D.C. McAllister is a conservative writer who was dropped by right-wing websites The Daily Wire and The Federalist over homophobic tweets. They teamed up to write a book promoting right-wing conspiracy theories about the Russia probe.
Fox host Tucker Carlson mentioned the book while introducing Bongino for an interview on the August 15, 2018, edition of his show.
Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted a Bongino quote from the segment, mentioned the name of his book, and wished him “good luck.”
The Deep State: How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda by Jason Chaffetz
Chaffetz appeared on Fox’s The Story to discuss the book on the evening of September 19, 2018.
Forty minutes later, Trump praised the “very interesting” book.
Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson is a longtime conservative commentator, Fox host, and sometime Trump adviser whose show is a nightly recitation of white nationalist talking points and attacks on “elites.” He “expands on his nightly talking points” in Ship of Fools.
Carlson appeared on Fox’s Watters World to promote the book on October 13, 2018, with the host noting that it is “sitting first on The New York Times bestseller list.”
Roughly 20 minutes after the interview reaired, Trump congratulated Carlson.
The Second World Wars and The Case for Trump by Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a conservative columnist and author.
At the top of a November 24, 2018, interview on Fox’s Life, Liberty, and Levin, host Mark Levin noted that Hanson’s most recent book is The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won and that his next book would be The Case for Trump.
The next morning, Trump tweeted that Hanson had been a “very good and interesting guest” on Levin's program and recommended both of his books.
On February 22, a few weeks before The Case for Trump’s publication date, Hanson went on Hannity to promote it.
The next morning, Trump praised the “great new book.”
Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies -- With No Apologies by Sebastian Gorka
Sebastian Gorka is a dubiously-credentialed self-proclaimed national security “expert” who served in the Trump White House. After he was fired in August 2017, he became a Fox contributor. In March 2019, he left Fox for Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Why We Fight is a book-length version of his bombastic, ignorant view of foreign affairs.
Gorka appeared on Fox Business’ Trish Regan Primetime on November 28, 2018.
About 20 minutes after the interview re-aired, Trump praised Gorka’s “excellent book.”
During a January 1 appearance on Fox & Friends, on-screen text promoted Gorka’s book.
Within the hour, Trump praised his “great new book.”
Dark Winter by Anthony Tata
Anthony Tata is a retired Army brigadier general whom North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory appointed to the top post in the state’s transportation department in 2013. Dark Winter is the fifth book in his Jake Mahegan series of thriller novels.
On-screen text referenced Dark Winter when Fox & Friends interviewed Tata on December 21, 2018, about James Mattis’ resignation as defense secretary.
An hour and a half later, Trump mentioned the book in a tweet quoting Tata’s remarks during the segment.
Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance by Robert Jeffress
Robert Jeffress is a pro-Trump pastor at First Baptist Church Dallas, a Fox News contributor, and an anti-LGBTQ bigot who has attacked a host of other faiths and said 9/11 was God's punishment for the “sin” of abortion.
Dobbs promoted Jeffress’ latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life, at the top of a January 4 interview with Jeffress about the need to construct a wall on the U.S. southern border.
Minutes later, Trump praised Jeffress’ “great new book,” adding, “Get it and enjoy!”
Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy by Doug Wead
Doug Wead is a conservative commentator and author who served in President George H.W. Bush’s White House. His latest book details the 2016 election.
Fox & Friends promoted the book during a January 24 interview.
After the Flight 93 Election: The Vote that Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose by Michael Anton
Michael Anton is an extremist right-wing commentator who pseudonymously authored the infamous “Flight 93 Election” essay and later briefly served in the Trump administration as a national security spokesperson.
Fox’s The Story promoted After the Flight 93 Election while introducing Anton for a February 15 segment about the Democratic primary.
Two hours later, Trump tweeted that the book was “a terrific read.”
The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars with Trump by George Sorial and Damian Bates
George Sorial spent more than a decade as a top executive in The Trump Organization. The Real Deal is his hagiography of his work for Trump, co-written by former newspaper editor turned lobbyist Damian Bates.
Sorial went on Fox & Friends on June 11 to promote the book.
Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted that the book is “really wonderful.”
Power Grab: The Liberal Scheme to Undermine Trump, the GOP, and Our Republic by Jason Chaffetz
Chaffetz, described above, had his book promoted by Fox & Friends during a July 16 appearance.
An hour and a half later, Trump tweeted a Chaffetz quote from the segment, adding, “Buy Jason’s great new book.”
Justice On Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino
Mollie Hemingway, a Fox contributor and conservative commentator, and Carrie Severino, a top official at the Judicial Crisis Network, which promotes the confirmation of right-wing judges, teamed up to write a book about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.
They appeared on Fox & Friends to promote the book on July 19, 2019.
Minutes later, Trump tweeted praise of the “great new book.”
Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back The Americans That Liberalism Failed by Gianno Caldwell
Caldwell is a Fox political analyst and government relations consultant. Taken for Granted, scheduled for publication in November 2019, is a memoir detailing Caldwell’s experience seeing “firsthand how lawmakers from both parties have failed African American voters on issues like poverty, welfare, and education.”
Caldwell discussed the book during a July 26 appearance on Fox & Friends.
Half an hour later, Trump praised the “wonderful new book.”
Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency by Andrew McCarthy
Andrew McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor and National Review contributing editor who wrote a 2014 book calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment. Ball of Collusion is another book promoting right-wing conspiracy theories about the Mueller probe.
McCarthy appeared on Fox & Friends on August 15 to discuss the book.
An hour later, Trump urged his followers to “go out and get” the book.