If you’ve ever seen the front cover of Donald Trump‘s seminal book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, then you might recognize Tony Schwartz’s name. Key word “might,” as Trump’s last name adorns the top and bottom halves of the cover. Schwartz, who served as the New York real estate mogul’s ghostwriter, only managed the second half of the bottom line. Since his former client announced his candidacy last summer, the former journalist has kept quiet about Trump’s rise to power. Or at least that was until The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer convinced Schwartz to open up about his time behind the wizard’s curtain at Trump Tower.
Needless to say, Schwartz’s words about Trump, along with his experience researching and writing Art of the Deal, are less than flattering. Aside from suggesting he’d re-title the book The Sociopath, the ghostwriter expressed strong concerns about the possibility of a Trump presidency:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “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.” He went on, “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.”
Among many other morsels of trivia encased within the New Yorker article, Schwartz’s recollections about the book’s creation are telling. Like the fact that Trump was incapable of sitting still for long interviews because “he has no attention span.” Schwartz described the presumptive Republican nominee “like a kindergartner who can’t sit still in a classroom”:
“[It’s] impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes … 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.”
Yet The Art of the Deal necessitated the occasional bit of autobiography by its namesake. In order to acquire these sorts of details from an otherwise unwilling interviewee, Schwartz suggested he shadow Trump on a daily basis. He even offered to listen in on the businessman’s many phone calls, and to his astonishment, his subject had absolutely no problem with the lack of privacy. “He loved the attention,” the ghostwriter admitted. “If he could have had three hundred thousand people listening in, he would have been even happier.”
For more goodies about Schwartz’s time with Trump, check out the full New Yorker article here.