NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will release a new book next month that features letters from celebrities and politicians written to him through the years.
“Letters to Trump” includes private correspondence with former presidents including Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, along with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson. There are letters from the late Princess Diana, as well as foreign leaders, including former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
The letters serve, in part, as a time capsule from an era before Trump became a polarizing political figure, when he was still a New York celebrity only flirting with running for office. They also feature a collection of strongmen with whom Trump has kept in touch since leaving office and as he wages a third White House run.
“We had lots of great letters from lots of great people and not so great people, to be honest with you," Trump told reporters in a phone call to discuss the book Thursday. "But they’re very famous people. And probably there’s never been such diversity as this in terms of people where the letters come from and who they come from."
Trump's letters have also taken on new significance amid the ongoing federal investigation into his retention of presidential records and how documents with classified markings ended up at his Mar-a-Lago club. That investigation began when archives officials noticed they were missing documents that Trump had spoken about publicly, including letters from Kim, with whom Trump corresponded with often as president.
“He wrote me beautiful letters,” Trump once said. “We fell in love.”
In addition to letters from Kim, the book includes a letter from Bolsonaro, the former far-right president of Brazil, who, like Trump, refused to accept his election defeat, claiming, without evidence, that the nation’s voting system was prone to fraud. The disinformation campaign culminated in thousands of his supporters swarming Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace in a riot that bore striking similarities to the one at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The letter, which which was sent in January after Bolsonaro was voted out of office, and shared with The Associated Press ahead of the book's publication, begins with a wistful tone.
“During the time we were both presidents of our countries, we achieved great accomplishments for our nations,” Bolsonaro wrote in Portuguese, describing the “historic relationship” between Brazil and the U.S. as “a source of extreme importance” for both nations, "whether in the economic cooperation, national defense, or for the political stability of our continents.”
“Working together we accomplished several lasting victories which will be fruitful for future generations,” he added. “You will always have a partner and friend in Brazil.”
The letter is signed in thick black ink, reminiscent of Trump's well-known Sharpie scrawl.
Trump, in the phone call, said that he had a “fantastic relationship" with Bolsonaro.
“I think he's a very good man and he will be heard from again, I suspect, in Brazil," Trump said, adding that he has kept in touch with the Brazilian — who has been living in Florida and spoke at the CPAC conference last week — along with a number of other world leaders.
“You know, you don’t just leave and you never speak to somebody again,” he said. “I’ve kept the relationships with quite a few of them and, you know, I think that bodes well for the campaign.”
Trump — who at one point declared, “I’m a denier, I’m an election denier” — also acknowledged his pattern of building close relationships with strongmen like Kim and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, which some former White House aides have said they believe stems from Trump's desire to share their unchecked power.
“I get along great with, for the most part, almost everyone. And the tougher they were, the better I got along with them, which is sort of an interesting phenomenon," he said.
Another letter featured in the book was sent by Winfrey, the famous talk show host, in 2000. According to Axios, which first published details of the book on Thursday, she wrote in response to an excerpt Trump had sent her from one of his books in which he talked her up as vice presidential candidate. ("If I can't get Oprah, I'd like someone like her," he had written.)
She wrote back to tell Trump his words had "made me a little weepy.”
“Too bad we’re not running for office,” she added. "What a TEAM!”
The book, which will be released April 25, features around 150 letters, along with commentary and photos. Like “Our Journey Together,” a coffee table book of photos from Trump's time in the White House, it is being published by Winning Team publishing, founded by Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., and Republican political operative Sergio Gor.
“Long before entering politics, Donald Trump lived an extraordinary life. No book highlights his iconic relationships like Letters to Trump, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with our readers,” said Gor.
The book will cost $99 or $399 for a signed edition.