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‘His grifting is endless’: Trump mocked over plan to release $99 book of 150 private letters

Former President Donald Trump plans to share 150 private letters in a new book set to be published on 25 April.

One of the letters is from TV icon Oprah Winfrey, sent to Mr Trump in 2000, telling him, “too bad we’re not running for office. What a team!”

Mr Trump notes that he still thinks Ms Winfrey is “amazing” but that can’t be said about her feelings for him.

“Sadly, once I announced for President, she never spoke to me again,” Mr Trump writes, according to Axios.

The book, entitled Letters to Trump, will be released by Winning Team Publishing, founded by Sergio Gor and Donald Trump Jr.

Mr Gor told Axios: “Long before entering politics, Donald Trump lived an extraordinary life. No book highlights his iconic relationships like ‘Letters to Trump.’”

The book can be bought for $99 – a signed edition costs $399.

Winning Team Publishing released Mr Trump’s coffee table book last year called Our Journey Together. It made $20m in sales in its first two months.

Letters to Trump include messages from presidents, royals, celebrities, and business leaders. He picked them out after having saved more than four decades worth of letters stored at his properties.

Mr Trump is including an image for each letter and his own comments about the person who wrote the message, as well as transcripts where the handwriting is hard to read.

Some of the letters included came from people such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Princess Diana, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Kim Jong-un, Mario Cuomo, Arnold Palmer, Jay Leno, Liza Minnelli, and Regis Philbin, according to Axios.

Ms Winfrey’s message to Mr Trump came after he sent her a copy of his 2000 book The America We Deserve. In it, he writes that Ms Winfrey would be his “first choice for vice president”.

“Americans respect and admire Oprah for her intelligence and caring,” he wrote at the time. “She has provided inspiration for millions of women to improve their lives, go back to school, learn to read, and take responsibility for themselves. If I can’t get Oprah, I’d like someone like her.”

“I have to tell you your comments made me a little weepy,” Ms Winfrey wrote to Mr Trump. “It’s one thing to try and live a life of integrity — still another to have people like yourself notice.”

The book announcement was promptly mocked by Twitter users, with one saying “good lord his grifting is endless”.

“I wonder if he’ll publish letters from any of his special prosecutors?” Greg Kueterman said.

Ljupka Todorovic said Mr Trump was “fighting so hard to remain relevant. Sad”.

“Another zero effort money grab. Dude is broke. A coloring book is next,” Hal Sparks tweeted.

Washington Post National Columnist Philip Bump used the announcement to push his own book.

“You could spend $99 on a book of letters sent to Trump before he became a hyperpolarizing advocate for the right-wing fringe or you could spend $27 on my book to better understand how that happened,” he tweeted.

Vanity Fair editor of creative development David Friend wrote: “Legally, I believe, the copyright to a letter belongs to the sender, not the recipient. A class-action lawsuit in the offing?”