'Ashamed' Writer of 'Art of the Deal' Says Trump is 'Same Man at 70 That He was at 7'
WASHINGTON – Tony Schwartz, credited co-author of Donald Trump’s 1987 book Trump: The Art of the Deal, said he is “ashamed” by the way he “reshaped” Trump in the best-seller and it makes him “a little sick” today.
“What I did so effectively in The Art of the Deal, I’m ashamed to say, was reshape Donald Trump’s bullying, cynicism and one-dimensionality into a voice that seemed boyish, ingenuous and brashly charming. You know, it’s actually making me a little sick even to revisit that – me and him. In the end, I re-created a character far more winning than Trump actually is. Even as I was writing the book, I began to think of him as a black hole with nothing to sustain him inside. He looked entirely to the external world for nourishment,” Schwartz, who has said he ghostwrote the book, said a week ago at the Professional Speechwriters Association World Conference.
“No amount of money, success, praise or attention was ever enough. No matter how much he got, the solace it gave him very quickly leached away,” he added. “What I didn’t fully recognize at the time was how much of Trump’s neediness and hunger for affirmation I shared. By seeing these distasteful qualities in such an exaggerated version of him, I could feel more righteous about disowning them in myself.”
Schwartz said Trump determined early in his life that to “survive he had to go to war with the world.”
“He either dominated or he submitted. He either created fear or he succumbed to fear as his older alcoholic brother had done. As a consequence, Trump treated every encounter as a contest that he had to win because the only other option was to lose, which was the equivalent to him of obliteration,” he said. “From early in his life he deduced that the best way to stay safe is to take no prisoners, so Trump stood up to his father and he dominated his siblings.”
According to Schwartz, “Trump’s worldview never got wider, deeper or longer” as he aged.
“By his own declaration, he is essentially the same man at 70 that he was at 7. Along the way, he failed to develop the qualities of character that most of us do in the natural course of growing up to a greater or lesser extent – honesty, empathy, generosity, reflectiveness, the capacity to delay gratification and appreciate or subtlety and nuance, and above all a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong,” the writer said.
“Even at 70 when his own self feels at risk, he will slap down Carmen Cruz, the struggling mayor of San Juan, in order lift himself up, or disparage the service of a war hero like John McCain or humiliate members of his own administration,” he added. “If that’s what it takes, well then, he’ll do it and without a moment’s guilt.”