Donald Trump had lunch with disgraced author Ed Klein, who has written several books and columns making lurid and absurd allegations about the Clintons, President Barack Obama and others. That work has been described as “fan fiction” and “smut,” while even conservatives have expressed doubt about Klein's credibility.
Washington Post national political correspondent Philip Rucker reported that Trump met with Klein along with Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and Daniel Scavino at a delicatessen in Indianapolis. Rucker wrote that Klein is “perhaps best known for his series of bombshell books spreading rumors and innuendo, much of it discredited.” The Post reporter added that Klein “said he is following Trump around for a couple of days to gather material for a new book.”
Klein has been a fixture in conservative media for years. His work is notable for being extremely salacious, sloppy, and provably inaccurate. Journalists have described his work as “smut,” “junk journalism,” “fan fiction,” and “devoid” of “basic journalistic standards.”
Klein says he has known Trump for 35 years and has “met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him.” He adds, “I believe I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family.”
Among the claims Klein has previously made is the allegation that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped his wife. Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped one of his books because it “did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers.” A conservative publisher, Regnery, later published that book and its follow-up.
Klein is also known for using completely distorted quotes in his books and columns, while others sound as if they were completely made up. One reporter wrote that Klein’s reporting features “dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family.”
The details in Klein’s work have been so unbelievable that even conservatives have called it into question. Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade was skeptical of one of Klein’s too good to be true quotes in his book Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas, and Rush Limbaugh even said, "some of the quotes strike me as odd, in the sense that I don't know people who speak this way."
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan described Klein’s book The Truth About Hillary as "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work."
Klein writes regular columns that appear in right-wing publications like Townhall.com and Newsmax. Those columns continue Klein’s well-worn tactics. In one column, Klein speculates about Clinton’s health, writing, “Bill’s worst fear, according to my sources, is that Hillary will stumble or fall at a critical moment in the campaign and reveal that she’s not up to handling the job of commander in chief.”
Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account. Earlier in the year, Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign used an unverifiable Bill Clinton quote sourced to Klein in campaign mailers and fundraising appeals.