tremendous content

All the Petty Celebrity Insults in Letters to Trump

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty

While most former United States presidents write a lengthy memoir after leaving office, Donald Trump chose, fittingly, to commemorate his administration with an overpriced coffee-table book. Our Journey Together was widely mocked when it was released last year, as it’s just a bunch of photos with some nasty captions Trump scrawled in Sharpie. But this low-effort cash grab (the book’s price tag ranged from $74.99 to $999) sold well enough that Winning Team Publishing put out a sequel last week.

The unhinged rudeness of Our Journey Together was a bit of a surprise, but Letters to Trump was explicitly marketed as a coffee-table book out for revenge. Donald Trump Jr., who co-founded Winning Team Publishing, promised that the collection of his father’s correspondence with famous people would expose his enemies’ hypocrisy.

“It’s amazing how quickly their adoration of him changed when he ran for office as a Republican,” Trump Jr. said. ”Letters to Trump shows you exactly how they felt about him and how phony their newfound disdain truly is.”

It turns out Trump doesn’t have the goods. None of the correspondence is embarrassing for the letter writer; the only thing the greetings and thank-you notes prove is that other stars were cordial to Trump before he became a threat to our democratic institutions. But the book succeeds in giving Trump a chance to formally catalogue his petty gripes against famous figures in politics and entertainment. Here are Letters to Trump’s most hilariously deranged critiques and insults.

Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger

My fear that Letters to Trump would fail to capture the absurd majesty of its predecessor was assuaged with the very first letter. It’s a typed, two-sentence note Richard Nixon sent Trump in 1987, which starts, “I did not see the program, but Mrs. Nixon told me that you were great on the Donahue Show.”

In the accompanying caption, Trump expresses his admiration for his nearly impeached fellow president and explains, “His biggest mistake was that he didn’t fight” when urged to resign.

Photo: Letters to Trump

Trump has a less rosy view of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, but not for any of the reasons people tend to have issues with the Machiavellian Nixon confidant and alleged war criminal. Trump’s primary gripe is that Kissinger wasn’t sufficiently loyal to his president. He writes:

Henry Kissinger was probably very disloyal to Richard Nixon but we’ll never know exactly what happened. He was smart like a fox, cunning as could be, and had friends on every side of the equation. But you never really understood or knew where he was coming from. One thing I’ll say for Henry Kissinger: as good as he was, and as intelligence as he was, I don’t know whather I’d like to have him in a foxhole with me.

The Cuomos

The second letter in the book is a generic thank-you note from Mario Cuomo. In the caption, Trump trashes Mario Cuomo for being “disloyal,” suggesting that as a campaign donor, he was entitled to special treatment he didn’t receive. (In a 2004 book, Trump recalled asking Cuomo for an unspecified favor, then screaming at the former governor when he refused to comply with his demands.) From Letters to Trump:

I was a big supporter of Mario Cuomo, and never asked him for anything. But then, long after he left office, I did ask him for a favor — something very easy for him to have done — and he turned me down. I was furious with him and never spoke to him again. This would have been a positive event, nothing bad or daring. But I felt him to be extremely disloyal.

There are a few more Cuomo thank-you notes sprinkled throughout the book, including one from Mario’s wife, Matilda. And there’s a two-page spread devoted to Mario’s son Andrew Cuomo, also a former New York governor, but no accompanying note. “Andrew wrote me many flattering letters over the years, but I decided not to bore you with them,” Trump explains.

In the caption, Trump complains about Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic and says of his resignation over sexual misconduct allegations, “to get thrown out like a ‘dog’ was a great surprise to me.”

Photo: Letters to Trump

Bill and Hillary Clinton

Surprisingly, Trump doesn’t go that hard on the Clintons here. The book includes a 2002 letter from Hillary thanking Trump for his campaign donation (which underscores Trump’s hypocrisy more than hers). “Whether we like it or not, Hillary is very smart and very tough, and she’s been through a lot in so many ways,” he remarks in the caption. Kind words, considering he has called for her imprisonment many times.

Later, he jokes, “Bill Clinton and I had a great relationship. I liked him and he liked me, and neither of us liked Hillary (just kidding).”

Trump’s most savage Clinton jab is wordless. A boring thank-you note Trump sent to Bill in 2011 is accompanied by a famous photo of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky with no commentary.

Photo: Letters to Trump

The Bush Family

“The Bush family and I didn’t get along well, to put it mildly,” Trump notes. Accordingly, there are jabs at the political clan throughout the book, though Trump pretends to take the high ground.

First, Trump complains that he personally did not understand one of President George H. W. Bush’s famous phrases. “He kept talking about ‘A Thousand Points of Light,’ and nobody really knew what the hell he was talking about,” Trump writes. “What did it all mean?”

He complains that former First Lady Barbara Bush “thought I was very mean to her sons,” when in reality the feud was their fault. But, he says magnanimously, “that was okay. I gave up on them a long time ago.”

Trump says former President George W. Bush “got us into the Middle East quicksand. After twenty-one years, millions of people dead, trillions of dollars spent, and the Middle East totally obliterated, we got out. It was a bad decision by him and probably a bad decision that was forced by Dick Cheney, a disastrous Vice President.” Okay, that’s fair. But then Trump makes quite the pivot, concluding, “In any event, I wish them all well. Lots of luck!”

While all of the other captions list the Bush family members’ titles and full names, W.’s younger brother is listed as simply “JEB!

John McCain

John McCain got a two-page photo spread in Our Journey Together just so Trump could announce, “I didn’t like him even a little bit.”

But in case anyone is still unclear on Trump’s feelings toward the late senator, he explains in the new book, “I was never a big fan of John McCain.” Ironically, this passage speaking ill of the dead includes the line, “Always thought of him as a bully, and I was right.”

Trump concludes by noting his generosity in giving McCain “the ‘world’s longest funeral,’ eleven days. Much like his wars, it never ended.”

Photo: Letters to Trump

Princess Diana and King Charles

Trump earned himself a posthumous insult from Princess Diana when he used her name to promote Letters to Trump. The reprinted thank-you note she sent him in 1997 is unremarkable. It seems Trump’s intention was to brag that he got a letter from the princess, not to disrespect her; the closest he comes to an insult is saying she had a “complicated life within the Royal family.” But Diana’s brother was still annoyed about her being lumped together with stars who once “kissed Trump’s ass” in a Breitbart interview.

Trump does note that King Charles’s “thirst for saving the environment is all-consuming,” which is a jab in MAGA circles. He writes:

I got to know the former Prince Charles—Now King Charles III—very well during my Presidency. He is elegant and a great guy who truly loved his mother and equally loves and respects Queen Consort Camilla. We spoke for long periods of time, but it didn’t take long to realize his thirst for saving the environment is all-consuming.

George Lucas

Like legions of other people, Trump is mad about the Star Wars prequels. But his issue isn’t midi-chlorians, Jar Jar Binks, or Anakin’s stilted speech about the evils of sand. He’s upset that creator George Lucas — whose films warn about a demagogue who destroys liberty “with thunderous applause” — wasn’t a MAGA man.

“George Lucas had asked me for favors in the past, until he became another Hollywood ‘Never-Trumper,’” Trump writes. “I once agreed to do a promotion for one of the Star Wars movies, and he wrote me a great letter in appreciation … Everyone in Hollywood wanted my participation, until I became President!”

As is typical, Trump goes light on the details in this caption. But it appears he’s talking about Lucas consulting on a 2016 political ad warning that Trump could kill us all, years after the mogul did a Star Wars–themed episode of The Apprentice to promote the DVD release of Revenge of the Sith.

Oprah Winfrey

To promote Letters to Trump, Winning Team Publishing put out a thank-you note Oprah Winfrey sent her fellow TV host in 2000. This “gotcha” moment flopped hard. Winfrey quickly shrugged it off, saying, “When I heard that this letter is now going to be a part of a book, I thought, Oh, wasn’t that nice of me to write a note … Because I’m always like, Oh, I should write a note. The person did this, or I should write a note.”

There are two notes from Oprah in the book, and the only embarrassing thing about these pages is Trump suggesting that she should like him simply because of what he (ostensibly) did to help Black Americans.

Photo: Letters to Trump

Alec Baldwin

Donald Trump doesn’t like the way Alec Baldwin impersonated him on Saturday Night Live, which is understandable. Trump’s decision to reiterate his baseless suggestion that Baldwin may have intentionally shot and killed Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is far less understandable.

“With time, I believe Alec became a psycho, a very sick puppy, and it is very hard to believe his story that he thought the gun was unloaded,” Trump writes.

Immediately after floating this horrible accusation, Trump says he wishes Baldwin well, then insults his looks. “In any event, I wish him well but I like the young Alec Baldwin — there is nothing good about what the clock has done to him,” Trump writes.

Involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were dropped days before Letters to Trump’s release.

Photo: Letters to Trump

More tremendous content

See All
All the Petty Celebrity Insults in Letters to Trump