Donald Trump published a book about the ills of America Tuesday, kicking up a media frenzy by signing copies for fans, insulting his rivals and telling voters to choose him for president.

Trump and Hillary
Trump and Hillary

“Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” offers the everyday reader the Republican frontrunner’s take on the problems facing the country and why only he can fix them.

Online bookseller Amazon flagged it as a number one new release in political science, as retailers quickly slashed sale prices for the slim volume that runs to less than 200 pages.

The real estate mogul invited the world media to Trump Tower to welcome its launch before signing copies for fans who queued for hours, as he continues — narrowly — to top the polls less than 100 days before the first statewide nominating contests.

“I’m going to get the nomination and I will win the White House. I think beating Hillary Clinton is going to be easy because her record is so bad,” he announced, deftly fielding questions, dishing out jokes and insulting fellow White House candidates.

Trump ratcheted up his criticism of Senator Marco Rubio, who has been gaining in the polls, calling him a “disaster” with credit cards — alluding to his use, years ago, of a party card to cover personal spending.

Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and his closest rival in the Republican race? He lacks energy and is weak on immigration, Trump said. Jeb Bush? A poor messenger who falls asleep at the podium.

Clinton performed well in the Democrat debate because the questions she faced were “all soft balls” while “stupid” Bernie Sanders had “finished” his campaign by refusing to make hay of her email controversy.

On the other hand, with Trump in the White House, he claimed that America would have a “very good” relationship with Russia while he personally would have a “very good” relationship with Vladimir Putin.

– Smiley face –

The tycoon glowers out from the cover, by his own admission a “nasty picture” chosen to reflect his “anger and unhappiness” about the current state of US affairs.

“When you’re talking about crippled America and you’re talking about all of the problems that we have, I can’t have a big smiley face,” he quipped.

The book’s release comes a week after the former reality TV star was accused along with Carson of peddling “fantasy” economic policies during a televised primary debate.

Trump said the book was “selling like hot cakes” and that all profits would go to charitable causes, including veterans.

Fans queued two blocks to have their copies signed, many of them leafing through the book, others wearing his “Make America Great Again” campaign hat and one woman even clutching a Trump doll.

Lorie Shockley, a nurse from Ohio, said she drove eight hours with her boyfriend and would drive straight home, just to get Trump to sign copies for her and her son.

“I think it’s like historic,” she told AFP. “Even if he doesn’t make it, I still think that he has changed the dynamics of politics and what’s going on right now in our country.”

Marcel, a German tourist on his first trip to New York, was combining the Trump event with a trip to the Statue of Liberty and a basketball game.

– ‘Not in-depth analysis’ –

“I think it’s easy to read,” he said. “Not in-depth analysis I would say.”

The tome fleshes out Trump’s politics under chapters such as “Health Care Is Making Us All Sick” and “The Right To Bear Arms,” mixed with grandstanding about his business acumen.

It includes a photograph of an angelic-looking Trump as a child, meeting the late president Ronald Reagan (a “great guy”) and technicolor pictures of his real estate projects.

The businessman waxes lyrical on his tried and tested themes: an economy overtaken by China, reforming the tax code and affordable health care, and ending illegal immigration.

He stands by his controversial pledge to build a wall along the Mexico border — citing as inspiration Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank — and insisting America’s neighbor will pay for it.

“A lot of the European countries are going to build walls to stop the immigration. Well, walls work. All you have to do is ask Israel,” he said at the launch.

In the chapter on foreign policy, Trump calls the world “a terrible mess” and calls for the defeat of the Islamic State extremist group, without spelling out how, quipping that their forces “probably wouldn’t even fill the Yankee Stadium.”

The book is published by Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon and Schuster. The firm did not immediately respond to a query about how many copies had been sold.

Trump narrowly leads the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination, with 25.3 percent, ahead of Carson in second (24 percent), Rubio in third (nine percent), Senator Ted Cruz (7.5) and Bush (6.5).

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