Did Trump undermine his chief White House photographer’s book publishing plans?

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Donald Trump. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The newly released photo book by former President Donald Trump Our journey together appears to have undermined the project his chief White House photographer, Shealah Craighead, had planned in several ways, The New York Times reports.

For starters, the aides asked Craighead for a reduction in its down payment on the book, if it wanted Trump to write his foreword and help promote the book, the Time reports, citing former Trump associates. Then the former president’s team asked Craighead to delay his project so that Trump could take his photos and those of other White House staff photographers and publish his own book, which now sells for up to $230 a copy, the Time writing.

In addition, the plan to publish Our journey together came together after Craighead had found a book agent, negotiated a contract, and secured a commitment from Trump to write its foreword. As she debated whether to move forward with the project, a representative for the former president informed her that Trump could no longer keep his promise due to a non-compete clause with its editor.

“It’s a slap in the face,” said Eric Draper, chief White House photographer during the Bush administration. “I would be disappointed if I were in his place.”

Legally, the Time notes, Trump is allowed to do whatever he wants with the photographs, given that they are in the public domain and not copyrighted. But in his dealings with Craighead, Trump appears to be the first former president to make money from a book planned by a former White House photographer, documentary filmmaker John Bredar told the Time.

For now, Craighead has decided to stop all personal projects.

“I stay apolitical as much as possible, because I’m a neutral historical documentarian,” she told the Time. “By remaining neutral, I am able to remain an attentive observer.”

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