A new book reveals the extent to which the White House was essentially an arm of Donald Trump’s political campaign, even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass” by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Trump kept a room next to the Oval Office filled with MAGA merch.
“They literally hand you a shopping bag, and you took anything you’d like,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) was quoted as saying, according to an excerpt reviewed by The Hill. Murphy was visiting the White House in 2020 ― early in the pandemic ― when Trump showed him the MAGA gift shop adjoining the Oval Office.
The book also details the extent to which Trump expected governors who wanted help with the pandemic to give him something in return, or what he called “the reciprocity.”
“Trump was most interested in helping people he got along with, and regions of the country he saw as Trump country,” the book notes, per an excerpt reviewed by SF Gate.
“This Will Not Pass” hits stores May 3.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.