Last night on Twitter, Donald Trump saw a ridiculous quote attributed to him that he never actually gave. Naturally, Trump claimed it and tweeted it out to his 2.6 million followers.
It all started innocently enough with some withering Trump fan fiction, an occasional habit of writer David J. Roth.
Donald Trump dictates his memoirs while eating steak on a toilet. "Too many people these days don't care about winning. I call them losers."— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 10, 2014
Roth later explained his interest in Trump's online voice, which he describes as "stupendously vain and stupendously petty, and not at all like anyone else on Twitter."
Roth followed the first imaginary quote with another ridiculous one, fashioned from thin air:
"I was never one who looked at success as bad. For me, success was always good. I loved it, and still do." - Donald Trump, WINNING, pg. 27— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 10, 2014
This is where things got interesting. Sure enough, despite the fact that the quote was terrible/made up, and, more bizarrely, despite the fact that Trump has never written a book called Winning, The Donald tweeted it out to his 2.6 million followers:
"@david_j_roth: "I was never one who looked at success as bad. For me, success was always good. I loved it, and still do." Donald Trump— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2014
Today, Roth took a much deserved victory lap:
Last night I made up a fatuous Donald Trump quote, attributed it to him, and he RT'ed it as his own. I'm finished: https://t.co/axInLeuSS4— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 10, 2014
He also wrote about the experience here.
Donald Trump — infamous from real estate, The Apprentice, multiple marriages, fake presidential campaigns, beauty pageants, and professional wrestling — has seemingly never quite grasped how he is a figure worthy of derision and parody. Or, perhaps, he has never stopped to wonder.
Mark Singer, who wrote a long profile of Trump for The New Yorker back in the late 1990s, said he struggled to come up with an ending to his story on Trump. According to Singer, the day after he turned in his story without an ending, the radio announced that Trump was divorcing Marla Maples, his wife at the time. Though he had just spent months with Trump and Maples, Singer had no idea there was any trouble between them. Singer wrote of the moment:
So, regarding the question of an interior life, I ended my Profile with the observation that Trump, who delineated three categories of his real estate offerings—luxury, super luxury, and super-super luxury—“had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury, an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”
Trump, of course, hated the essay and wrote an abusive note to Singer when the story came out. Trump then followed up with a letter to the New York Times Book Review when the essay was included in one of Singer's books. Here is a little sample of that letter:
Most writers want to be successful. Some writers even want to be good writers. I've read John Updike, I've read Orhan Pamuk, I've read Philip Roth. When Mark Singer enters their league, maybe I'll read one of his books. But it will be a long time — he was not born with great writing ability. Until then, maybe he should concentrate on finding his own "lonely component" and then try to develop himself into a worldclass writer, as futile as that may be, instead of having to write about remarkable people who are clearly outside of his realm.
Trump went on, explaining that he has been a best-selling author over two decades and proving that no matter what may come, Donald Trump will never be a character worthy of sympathy.
Singer, smirkingly admits to feeling a little bit bad. To make up for the offense, Singer said he wanted to send Trump the only present that Trump would truly appreciate: $1,000. But Singer didn't have the money. So instead, he send a letter and $37.82 as a "small token" of his gratitude. Trump, true to form, cashed the check.
Here's a (long) retelling of the story by Singer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.