Trump, Fighting Omarosa, Fixes His Gaze on S&S
Months after President Donald Trump’s lawyers slapped Macmillan with a cease-and-desist letter in advance of the publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, the president has done similarly with Simon & Schuster.
Charles Harder, a lawyer for President Trump, sent a letter to S&S on August 13—a day before the publication date of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s tell-all about her stint in the White House, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House—warning of possible legal action. Trump’s letter threatens “substantial monetary damages and punitive damages” should the book be published, according to a response letter from S&S counsel Elizabeth A. McNamara.
McNamara’s letter rejects Harder’s argument that a non-disclosure agreement allegedly signed by Manigault Newman would prevent S&S from legally publishing the book. As McNamara explains in her letter: “Private contracts like the NDA may not be used to censor former or current government officials from speaking about non-classified information learned during the course of their public employment.”
In a statement, Simon & Schuster said: “Despite various legal claims and threats made by representatives of the Trump campaign, Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster are proceeding as planned with publication of Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, confident that we are acting well within our rights and responsibilities as a publisher.”
An early response to the cease-and-desist demand, from PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel, condemned the president’s action as well. “Yet again the Trump Administration is attempting to intimidate a publishing house by threatening legal retaliation in an attempt to keep a book off the shelves and out the hands of Americans who wish to read it,” Nossel said in a statement.
Nossel, referring to the dust-up between the Trump administration and Macmillan over Fire and Fury, went on to say that the White House’s last attempt to keep a title from shelves “only fueled sales and conversation about the book.” She added: “It is deeply regrettable that the White House did not learn its lesson and persists with tactics that are both unlawful and unbecoming of the presidency.”