The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, makes no bones about the fact he is not much of a reader. But he used to keep a copy of Hitler speeches—titled My New Order or Meine Neue Ordnung detailing Hitler’s use of propaganda—by his bedside according to first wife Ivana Trump. Trump later confirmed he owned the book in an interview, but misidentified it as Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
When asked about the last book he read, Trump stated:
“I read passages, I read areas, chapters, I don’t have the time.”
His Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz stated:
“I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.”
Both Schwartz and the bestselling book’s publisher stated Trump contributed nothing to Art of the Deal. Schwartz claimed he read the book aloud to Trump to get his approval on it after giving the draft text to Trump for proofreading achieved no results.
Reports out of the White House state formerly written briefings and reports poured over by the former administrations of both Bushes and Clinton and Obama now take the form of brief oral recitations because the 45th President refused to read anything longer than a page or a few paragraphs.
This is in stark contrast to his immediate predecessor, 44th President Barack Obama, who recently shared his summer reading list on Facebook.
CNN sought to compare the literary tastes of the two leaders so they took to Twitter to see what books Trump recommended to his followers and shared them side by side.
And well, it is quite a study in contrasts.
The books Obama recommended:
- Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir of a woman who leaves her survivalist Idaho roots
- Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, a post-World War II novel Obama described as “a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family”
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, about a newlywed black attorney wrongly convicted of rape
- Factfulness by Swedish academic Hans Rosling on the “secret silent miracle of human progress”
- A House for Mr. Biswas the first, great novel by the late V.S. Naipaul
The list of books Trump recommended this year:
- The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump by Gregg Jarrett. Trump lauded this book as “hard work” from Jarrett, a Fox News legal analyst who Trump called “a brilliant guy”
- The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President by Sean Spicer. “A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book,” Trump wrote, adding that the account from his former White House press secretary is a “story told with both heart and knowledge”
- 9 Rules of Engagement by Harris Faulkner. Trump praised this memoir by Fox News anchor Faulkner as a “terrific new book”
- The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It by Andy Puzder. Trump gave a nod to his former labor secretary nominee Puzder’s new book, predicting that it will be a “big hit”
The Twitter reactions to the two lists are as expected based on both men’s reputations for reading and intellectualism as the following tweets show.
Some Twitter users expressed surprise that Trump recommended any books at all.
Trump can read?
— Nicky Holden (@NicolaHolden6) August 21, 2018
“he doesn’t have much time to read”
that is just hilarious
— Rofoam (@Rofoam313) August 21, 2018
How does Trump have a reading list when he’s claimed he doesn’t even read. 😆
— Adrian Townsend (@AngerEyE) August 21, 2018
Trump does not read, someone suggested those titles because they are from people who “blow” him. And at his stage of derangement & dementia he is probably incapable of comprehending anything in the books. Should ask him to have a discussion on anyone and it will be telling
— Maria Edna Bon (@bonissima91910) August 21, 2018
While others made suggestions of their own for the Trump reading list.
— jefiner71 (@jefiner71) August 21, 2018
Bumper book of colouring with free crayons Where’s Wally? ( clue page 1 – in the WH)
— Gail Silver (@wonderwavel) August 21, 2018
tRUMP’s summer reading list: the words on the Big Mac box.
— alfinthetrees (@alfinthetrees) August 21, 2018
I was hoping to see books like “Green Eggs and Ham” on Trump’s reading list.
— Trey Ball (@duhrellball) August 21, 2018
Are Richie Rich comic books on Trump’s list?
— Robert Klufas (@Big_Boofy9923) August 21, 2018
Still others drew attention to the contrasts.
These are two very different lists from two very different men…I hope you are paying attention.
— DaveDelareaux (@joelouis2304) August 21, 2018
Before reading the article:
This doesn’t seem right.😬😬
After: Yup, that’s it.
— Khuzaima Ali (@khuzaima_mw) August 21, 2018
Barack will always be President Obama. Donald Trump will always be a mistake.
— Andrea Junker (@Strandjunker) August 21, 2018
You forgot to set ‘huge’ in front of mistake 😉
— Steen Thaim Kjeltoft (@kjeltoft62) August 21, 2018
Very funny. Deplorable Donald can’t even recite the national anthem. He calls his wife melanie 🤣He’s piggybacking on Obama’s economy. Low-skilled Americans are his followers. I wonder why?
— I’m STILL with her 👭 (@iloveloops) August 21, 2018
— Lee Fuller (@IamLeeFuller) August 21, 2018