Exclusive: A Trump photo book is on the way

In the rare circumstance that someone such as Donald Trump — the unlovable, extreme-drama president — is granted access to his very first White House photo book, an annotated version of the most precious…

Exclusive: A Trump photo book is on the way

In the rare circumstance that someone such as Donald Trump — the unlovable, extreme-drama president — is granted access to his very first White House photo book, an annotated version of the most precious documents stored in the archives of the presidency, to be published next month, the resulting artifact in effect guarantees that an electronic format will replace this august publication as the standard form of permanent record in the 21st century.

For nearly a year, according to an advance copy obtained by The Washington Post, this former reality show host has plunged himself into the arcane process of having himself and his staff immortalized in permanent written and printed form.

“I’ve gotten to know the first families and all of the former presidents,” writes Trump in a forward to the book, to be released June 12 through Hillard Weintraub Publishing Group, an imprint of Abrams Business. “I had a chance to look through pictures and have personally annotated and designed the book to commemorate the presidency. … I could not be prouder of our modern presidency.”

The 200-page hardcover book, retitled “President Donald J. Trump: An Autobiography” and illustrated by various images provided by the White House, is currently only available to booksellers. It is mainly an annotated version of Trump’s three-hour-long Oval Office interview with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that was broadcast on “60 Minutes” in March, in which Trump discussed everything from his surprise decision to fire James Comey as FBI director, to his own Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The interview, recorded by White House photographer Pete Souza, is a source of considerable excitement within the executive mansion as it comes to be given to the press.

“The book is a part of history,” said Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s communications director, adding, “There was an executive privilege issue with the ’60 Minutes’ interview and that issue was able to be resolved in a reasonable matter.”

The resulting book reportedly took nearly a year to compose. “It’s very labor-intensive,” said Armstrong Williams, who managed Trump’s book project with Alex Marlow. “It takes a lot of work and a lot of, you know, getting to know the material.”

“The book is 150 pages of verbatim language from Trump,” said Williams, who is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Studies and was a longtime publisher of President George W. Bush’s presidential library. “When you put words in the mouths of Donald Trump, it has a very long record behind it. So, Trump himself is saying it.”

The president’s personally annotated work describes, for example, the joint session of Congress where he addressed the nation on his calls for border wall funding and increased immigration control; his personal interactions with then-Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the G-7 meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec; his meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the Helsinki summit; and his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. Trump also graciously lists more than 100 photographs provided by the White House, including some that some members of the president’s team may have wished he had kept private.

Lester Munson, head of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, said the only official presidential photos currently kept at the Library of Congress are personal ones taken during the White House years by Kelly. “They have all of our official White House pictures. They have Hillary Clinton and they have Donald Trump photos,” he said.

How he would classify the significance of the Trump book is unclear. “That’s the interesting thing about books: It depends on your particular taste,” Munson said.

The Washington Post first reported Trump’s plans to create a presidential photo book earlier this month.

The project has been a goal of Trump’s since at least the presidential campaign. Many of his aides suggested to reporters at the time that he be afforded the same creative freedom as former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who published books about themselves shortly after leaving office. While both Clinton and Obama published their own work for former political aides and staff, they avoided the press.

Many of Trump’s staff had a positive view of the book’s design, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, who told The Post, “I think he, as well as the staff, has one of the most colorful and vibrant roles in American history, and a photo book

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