Trump's tweets are American literature

Like them or not, the president's tweets belong not only to American history but to our common literary heritage

A book.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

Barack Obama recently published the first of what we are told will be at least two volumes of presidential memoirs. Though I have a high opinion of some of his early speeches — especially the autobiographical address given at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 — it seems to me unlikely that A Promised Land will number among the handful of books written by American presidents that are read (as opposed to purchased) by a large number of people even immediately after publication. Instead like so many modern political memoirs before and since, it will gather dust on shelves and, eventually, in the outdoor free boxes of second-hand bookstores.

A book that I think has a better chance of being read and enjoyed is an edition of Donald Trump's tweets. Cheap cash-ins like Sh*t My President Says have been appearing for years now, but what I have in mind is a more serious and I daresay scholarly undertaking. It would include copious notes, providing as much context as possible (e.g., who Rick Gates was, descriptions of embedded video content, the exact wording of the warning messages appended by Twitter). It would also have a lengthy appendix containing deleted tweets and a thorough index that would allow readers to follow Trump's great themes — illegal immigration, Obama's birth certificate, Diet Coke, "the losers and haters" — over the course of more than a decade. It would sport handsome gold boards and a white dust jacket with champagne lettering. Each volume — I envision at least four — would cost around $50. (A cheaper one-volume paperback selection that retained some of the editorial apparatus would appear later.)

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Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.