19 Dec 2019

How attempted censorship by Trump troops backfired

From The Detail, 5:00 am on 19 December 2019
US President Donald Trump 

Photo: AFP

It’s been a massive own-goal.

A Donald Trump supporter has tried to crack down on anti-Trump books in a US library by hiding them - but his censorship efforts have failed badly.

The incident at the Idaho library got worldwide attention and boosted sales of exactly the type of books he was trying to hide.

One of the targets was about how President Trump cheats on the golf course, written by one of America's top sportswriters.

‘Commander in Cheat’ by Rick Reilly is a series of funny and serious anecdotes about the way Trump lies about his score, his handicap, and how many tournaments he's won - but also his refusal to pay painters, architects and cabinet makers.

The way he behaves in golf is like the way he behaves as the leader of the free world, says Reilly.

The book is peppered with quotes like, "he cheats like a mafia accountant" and "golf is like bicycle shorts, it reveals a lot about a guy". 

"I've known the guy for 35 years,' says Reilly, a former Sports Illustrated columnist.

"He's always been a big full-of-it fat liar. But it’s been fun copy. If you're a sports writer you send a limousine to get Donald Trump to an event because he'll say anything."

He was a "laugh ...we kind of thought he was in on the joke and then he became the most powerful man in the world and we realised 'oh, he wasn't joking'".

Reilly says living in the United States with Trump as president is a nightmare.

"It’s like up is down, black is white, breakfast is dinner here, cats are living with dogs, it’s insane."

His book is a New York Times bestseller, and it was shortlisted for the 2019 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

Reilly's had so many follow-up anecdotes since Commander in Cheat was published, from caddies, partners and opponents about Trump's cheating at golf, that he's written another chapter for the paperback version of the book.

But there's another sequel to this. At a library in the Idaho town of Coeur d'Alene book someone's taken offence. Librarians keep finding copies out of place, often in the ‘fiction’ section. Other anti-Trump books are also disappearing.

Reilly tells The Detail about the mystery he’s tagged "hidaho" …. He also gives his take on the impeachment process, next year's US election and why some Americans still love Trump.

Photo: RNZ

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