When a Trump insult tweet is a badge of honour

In a May 2013 tweet, US President-elect Donald Trump called Mr Jonathan Chait's employer New York magazine "a piece of garbage" and the political reporter himself a "no-talent illiterate hack".
In a May 2013 tweet, US President-elect Donald Trump called Mr Jonathan Chait's employer New York magazine "a piece of garbage" and the political reporter himself a "no-talent illiterate hack".PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • The news release for Jonathan Chait's new book about the presidency of Mr Barack Obama, Audacity, carries an unusual endorsement.

Typically, a publisher will promote advance reviews or praise from fellow authors. But Custom House, Chait's publisher, has instead a reprint of a Twitter post by President-elect Donald Trump.

In the May 2013 tweet, Mr Trump called Chait's employer New York magazine "a piece of garbage" and the political reporter himself a "no-talent illiterate hack".

Ms Kelly Rudolph, senior publicity director for Chait's publisher Custom House, used the insulting post on the book's news release and circulated it on the publisher's Instagram account.

"From a marketing standpoint, these days a negative tweet from Trump guarantees that people will pay attention," she said.

"In a fun, opposite-day kind of way," she said, being called a hack by Mr Trump was high praise for her author.

Indeed, for some in the news media and liberal intelligentsia, the Trump insult tweet has become a badge of honour.

Vanity Fair has twice reprinted a Trump diss on its cover - in May 2016, when Mr Trump was the Republican front-runner, and again on its February 2017 issue, when the magazine once quoted him as saying: "Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine? Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!"

Far from damaging the publication, Mr Trump's online invective has only raised its prospects, said Mr Carter, who remains its editor- in-chief.

He said by e-mail: "His last tweet brought us 80,000 new subscribers in two weeks."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'When a Trump insult tweet is a badge of honour'. Print Edition | Subscribe