The book “Art of the Deal,” co-authored by Tony Schwartz, made Donald Trump a household name and launched his presidential ambitions. It has been presented as a business memoir written by Trump. However, Trump’s claim to have written the book is now in doubt following two July articles in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer. In those articles, Tony Schwartz says Trump’s only contributions to the book were a few minor edits in the final manuscript.
If the book that Trump celebrates as his creation and claims honestly portrays his business skills is now based on a big lie, it places Trump’s whole narrative of success in doubt.
The book’s publisher, Random House, corroborates Schwartz and denies Trump’s claim of authorship as well. Howard Kaminsky, former head of Random House, is quoted, “Trump didn’t write a postcard for us.”
Schwartz spent 18 months basically shadowing Trump in his office, attending business meetings, traveling with him and occasionally spending weekends at Trump’s homes. Schwartz can rightly claim he knows Trump as well as his own family. That makes Schwartz’s revelations about Trump so shocking and meaningful. It was the fear that Trump could become president that finally motivated Schwartz to come forward and correct the record. He said, “that prospect terrified him.”
“I put lipstick on a pig … I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
Hillary Clinton has come under unending scrutiny about honesty and trustworthiness, yet Trump seems to have a pathological obsession with lying. After spending so much time observing and writing about Trump, Schwartz offers a unique insight into Trump’s manipulation of the truth.
“He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it. Since most people are constrained by the truth, Trump’s indifference to it gave him a strange advantage … Lying is second nature to him,” Schwartz said.
“More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true … When challenged about the facts, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent.”
Personal temperament is often mentioned by both the political pundits as well as the public as a critical presidential qualification. Stability, consistency and an acceptable demeanor are basic criteria that most voters expect of their presidents. Certainly a key element of that temperament is interaction with others. Does he play nice in the sandbox? Schwartz spoke about Trump’s juvenile behavior.
“People are dispensable and disposable in Trump’s world,” Schwartz said. “If Trump is elected President, the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows—that he couldn’t care less about them … Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever, or you’re the greatest … Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.”
Trump’s brags about his lack of preparation or study of details, choosing instead to shoot from the hip. Obviously, most voters value leaders who are familiar with the facts. Shouldn’t a lack of interest or knowledge in the details of world affairs disqualify the leader of the free world?
According to Mayer, “Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance … That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites. I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life. During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.”
The questions about Trump’s book, Art of the Deal didn’t surface in the first debate. However, the Clinton campaign revealed they are consulting with Schwartz on more information about Trump’s claims made in the book. You can expect that Schwartz’s accusations will likely come up in future debates or be quoted in Clinton TV ads.
by Rick Smith