Donald Trump likes to send notes to editors, compare bestseller stacks
Donald Trump is a busy guy. Last night he was busy firing Mark McGrath -- I never thought I'd say this, but he was busy firing the apparently highly competent Mark McGrath, "Extra!" TV host and former singer of Sugar Ray -- so he could keep the apparently sneakily brilliant and/or bonkers Gary Busey around on his television show "Celebrity Apprentice."
OK, even if that happened in reality TV time -- last night's "Celebrity Apprentice" wasn't actually yesterday, it was recorded earlier -- Trump has a multimillion-dollar business empire to run, right? He's even got people saying he's considering a presidential run. Which would mean he'd have things -- economics, politics, international issues -- he'd want to be studying up on.
But he's got time to send notes to editors.
Monday Vanity Fair wrote about its packet from the Donald -- printouts with handwritten notes and a Trump business card. More about that later: because first, Trump wrote a letter of complaint to the New York Times, which was published online Friday. Trump was writing regarding an op-ed column written by Gail Collins, titled "Donald Trump Gets Weirder."
Trump responds with a fair, albeit confrontationally phrased critique -- that he's been a target of Collins' skepticism before: "Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me." Then he continues:
Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level.
When Trump wants to hit a writer where it hurts, what does he do? Pull out his bestseller status! The man can talk about "storytelling ability and word usage" because he has sold so many books.
His books include "Trump: The Art of the Deal" (1987), written with Tony Schwartz and several books co-authored by Meredith McIver, including "Trump: How to Get Rich" (2004), "Trump: Think Like a Billionaire" (2005), "Trump 101: The Way to Success" (2006) and "Trump Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success" (2008).
Gail Collins is not just an op-ed columnist, however. She writes books, too. Her books include the histories "America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines" (2007) and "When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present" (2009).
Trump has certainly written -- well, co-written -- more books than Collins. But what with the help of his co-writers, it's hard to determine if he's written more words. Not that we're counting.
Meanwhile, over at Vanity Fair, editor Graydon Carter isn't comparing word counts or the size of bestseller stacks. Upon recieving his own notes from Trump, he evaluated the quality of the paper stock of his card (it carries the imprint "from the office of - Donald J. Trump"), calling it a "note card of surprisingly thin paper stock." That's in comparison to the Trump paper stock Carter received in 1989 at his then-digs, Spy Magazine, described at the time as "a letter on ultraclassy, superthick Trump Organization stationery."
What does all this mean? Trump is hard at work doing many things, including guarding the Trump name from all comers. And if you're going to challenge him, have a big stack of bestsellers at the ready.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Donald Trump at his newly opened golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes in 2005. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times