Mark Leibovich, a political correspondent for The Times, is working on a sequel to “This Town,” a book on Washington culture, that will touch on the Trump era.
At the center of the publishing frenzy is the subject himself.
Aware of the barrage of books about his presidency and lacking a book deal that could give his grievances another formal platform, Mr. Trump has tried a charm offensive. He has invited some writers to Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla., more than once, serving them steak and seating them in his estate’s great room, where the visiting journalists can be part of the political pageant that happens there each night.
Mr. Trump, who keenly understands his own place in the news media ecosystem, has turned down only a few interview requests, including one from Mr. Woodward. Mr. Woodward’s 2020 book, “Rage,” included several interviews with Mr. Trump, who told Mr. Woodward he had downplayed the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Mr. Trump has quizzed other visiting journalists on the people they are talking to, the questions they are going to ask and the stories they plan to tell about his presidency.
“We were really surprised by how much time he spent talking to us,” Mr. Rucker said. “And by, frankly, how interested he was in our book and the subjects we were covering. He very much wanted to be a part of trying to shape the historical narrative of his presidency.”
(Given Mr. Trump’s history with reading books — he does not read them — Mr. Rucker does not expect that the former president will provide a full review.)
As Mr. Bender readied another excerpt for publication — this time detailing the long-running animosity that existed between Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s counselor, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — he said Tuesday evening that the breakneck pace with which he has written and promoted his book mirrored the hectic nature of four years on the Trump beat.
“When this is all done I want to ask my publisher how this is supposed to work,” Mr. Bender said. “Nothing about this has felt normal. Which is kind of the experience of covering Donald Trump in a nutshell.”