Since Ronald Reagan it was almost an unwritten rule that the official White House photographer publish a book with the best and most significant snapshots of the period of the president for which they worked. Until it was Donald Trump’s turn. As with so much else, the nation’s 45th president has left an indelible mark, and not exactly for the better. According to a newspaper report The New York Times published this Thursday, the only president to suffer two impeachments (Impeachment for impeachment) asked Shealah Craighead to delay the publication of his project so that the Republican could, with photographs taken by her and other White House photographers, put his own book on sale for no modest price of 230 dollars.
There is more. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama wrote a foreword to his presidency photographer’s book. In Mr. Trump’s case, he asked for part of the publisher’s advance fee for the Craighead project for writing the foreword.
Posted last December, our journey together makes Trump the first former president to try to personally benefit from the planned book by a White House photographer. According to the New York paper, Craighead had already secured a publishing deal, including a six-figure retainer, when he notified the White House that the volume was in the works.
The President’s Book sold its first 300,000 copies for an estimated gross value of $20 million. It is for sale on the website of Winning Team Publishing, the company co-founded by Donald Trump Jr. and Republican campaign agent Sergio Gor.
“Shea is a very talented photographer who had put in a lot of work,” says Stephanie Grisham, who was Trump’s press secretary at the White House and wrote her own book, always according to the account of the Times. For Grisham, who refers to the photographer by her nickname, what her former boss has done is outrageous. “But then I tell myself this is the guy who is out there selling hats or whatever to raise money for himself.” Quoted by The New York TimesEric Draper, main photographer of the White House during the term of Bush son, assures that what happened is a lack of respect towards Craighead.
The photographer, in an interview, said she did not want to comment publicly on a matter that, after all, has to do with a former client. What Craighead did confirm is that, at least for now, her project for her book with the photographs of four years of travels, speeches, experiences, etc… has died before being born. “I stay apolitical as much as I can, just as I’m neutral as a historical documentarian,” she told the Times. “That neutrality allows me to be a keen observer,” concludes the article in the New York newspaper.
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