In the aftermath of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, where some Donald Trump supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” the former Vice President was notably quiet. He refused to speak up during Trump’s impeachment trial, with Amanda Carpenter writing in the Bulwark that “Pence’s silence could easily be chalked up to all manner of causes: submissiveness, cowardice, fear, or naked political calculation.” Pence’s actions certainly suggest he has political ambitions, announcing a new advocacy group on Wednesday and planning to drop book on his life in 2023, just as the next presidential race is under way. Now the question remains whether Pence, one of the most obsequious members of the Trump administration, will have anything remotely critical to say about his former boss, who remains the Republican Party’s biggest star.
Other Trump administration figures, however, may not be able to cash in like Pence, whose two-book deal with Simon & Schuster is reportedly worth somewhere between $3 to $4 million. According to CNN, people at major publishing houses are weighing the host of problems—from logistical to ethical—that could come with signing members of Trump’s orbit, as well as the former president himself. “It’s not that the book wouldn’t sell, it’s that he is impossible to fact check or do business with,” one person at a major publishing house said of taking on Trump.
Some think even considering the venture would be playing with fire. “If word got out we even read the pages, or took a meeting, the collective conscious of the people on the ground in the publishing business would come in to play,” one person at a major publishing house told CNN. “Staff would leave, consumers, readers would leave, talent/authors would leave.” A former industry executive cited the likelihood of “mass walkouts” in opposition to the deal as part of the “cancel culture P&L” that publishers are operating on. “No amount of money would be worth” publishing the former president, they said. “No one would stay for Trump.”
Simon & Schuster apparently made a similar evaluation following the January 6 Capitol attack, scrapping plans to publish a forthcoming book by Senator Josh Hawley due to the Missouri lawmaker’s “role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.” Hawley whined about cancel culture and later signed with conservative publisher Regnery.
Pence’s first book, slated for a 2023 release, could hit shelves alongside anticipated titles from Trumpworld alums Kellyanne Conway—the former White House counselor is also said to have received a multi-million dollar deal—and former first son-in-law Jared Kushner. Books about Trump and his political legacy are also in full swing, with journalists flocking to Mar-a-Lago for interviews with the 45th president—whose willingness to cooperate with the coming deluge is seen, at least in part, as him attempting to rewrite how he is remembered by inserting his side of the story.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s book may also be in the pipeline, as CNN reports he “has met with agents to discuss the possible market for a book, although so far no deal seems to be in the works”—perhaps because Pompeo, along with Pence and other Trump Republicans, is expected to make a bid for president come 2024, an assumption “giving some publishers pause,” according to CNN. That hesitation is apparently absent over at Fox News, a revolving door for ex-Trump officials, with Kayleigh McEnany starting earlier this week as co-host of Outnumbered and Pompeo named a contributor on Thursday.
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