Someone sent me a link this morning to an article published on The New Yorker website,
“Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All.” The article is written by Jane Mayer.
It is a must-must read.
A writer named Tony Schwartz actually wrote The Art of the Deal and he seriously regrets doing so. And I mean seriously regrets it. He feels he sold out for money. He feels he turned a seriously disturbed man into someone appealing. And Tony Schwartz should know. He spent 18 months with Trump beginning in 1985, as Mayer says, “camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate.”
Mayer’s article and Schwartz’s confessions cover some things that we already know. Trump is mostly not a good businessman. Mostly not as rich as he claims. Is a consummate liar and is “pathologically impulsive and self-centered.” Mayer informs us,
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”
The article goes on to tell us how The Art of the Deal came to be and how hard it was for Schwartz to write it because Trump wasn’t able to concentrate long enough on one subject for Schwartz to learn anything about his childhood or anything else of importance. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” Schwartz says. Mayer writes,
But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “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.
Again, this isn’t much of a surprise to anyone paying attention since June of 2015. To call Trump’s knowledge “superficial” is to grossly overrate his knowledge. He is stunningly ignorant of almost any subject he discusses, or attempts to discuss. You can’t really ccharacterize any interaction he has with reporters or others as a “discussion.” He’s simply not capable of carrying on a normal conversation.
Eventually, having given up on learning anything about Trump from Trump himself, Schwartz decided to try another way. As Mayer described it, Schwartz “would propose eavesdropping on Trump’s life by following him around on the job and, more important, by listening in on his office phone calls.” Thus, the 18 months with Donald. Mayer said that in the journal he kept during this time Schwartz “describes the hours he spent with Trump as ‘draining’ and ‘deadening.'” Yes. Sort of like his presidential campaign.
There is new stuff about Trump in Mayer’s article. Despite what you hear about how close Trump is with his family, Schwartz said that wasn’t the case when he was hanging around him. Mayer writes,
As far as Schwartz could tell, Trump spent very little time with his family and had no close friends.
Well, now that he is on his third wife, maybe things have changed.
I particularly liked a quote Schwartz shared about Trump from Roy Cohn, who had helped Joe McCarthy do his nasty deeds in the 1950s and who became Trump’s personal lawyer. Cohn was a secret homosexual and became ill with AIDS, which eventually killed him. Apparently, Trump abandoned Cohn, prompting the lawyer to say, “Donald pisses ice water.” Think about that every time you hear Mika Brzezinski or Joe Scarborough or Chris Cuomo or anyone else on television tell you what a great guy Trump is in person.
As I said, Mayer’s article is must reading. And I want to leave you with the most important reason you should bother reading it and why you should try to get others to do the same. You need to pass onto everyone you know, everyone in your circle of influence, something Schwartz said about Trump:
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.
Perhaps Tony Schwartz will deserve some of the blame, should the end of civilization come at the hands of a dangerously impulsive and ignorant Donald Trump. But the real blame will lie squarely on those voters who are either too blind to see, or are too eager not to see, the dreadful, terrifying picture of Trump the candidate himself has painted for over a year now.