Trump's 'Art of the Deal' Co-Author Shares Regrets of Book in Tell-All Interview: 'I Put Lipstick on a Pig'
The ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ has broken his decades-long silence on their time together, calling the presidential hopeful a “sociopath” in a tell-all he said was brought on by his desire to prevent “the end of civilization.”
Tony Schwartz, who co-authored the 1987 bestseller, told the New Yorker his decision to finally speak out about who he believes is the real Trump as his chances at winning the 2016 presidential election became a real possibility.
“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,” he said.
Saying that if he were to write ‘The Art of the Deal’ today, he would call it ‘The Sociopath,’ Schwartz told the magazine: “It’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then… 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 called his decision to work with Trump a “Faustian bargain,” noting he was motivated by the half-cut of a $500,000 book advance and of any royalties subsequently made to sign on to write favorably about someone he said “stands for many of the things I abhor.”
“I was overly worried about money,” he said. “I thought money would keep me safe and secure—or that was my rationalization… But I knew I was selling out. Literally, the term was invented to describe what I did.”
‘The Art of the Deal’ was number one on the New York Times best-seller list for 13 weeks, going on to spend 48 weeks in total on the list.
Schwartz, whose byline appears on the book’s cover, spent 18 months with Trump, interviewing him and observing him during his daily dealings in business and life.
He argued it was the book — and the embellishments and lies he allegedly wrote to paint a favorable picture of Trump — that helped make him the household name he is today, something Schwartz says he regrets being a part of.
“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.”
Edward Kosner, former editor and publisher of New York magazine, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, told the New Yorker: “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
Trump denied Schwartz’s claim that he was the primary author of the book, saying: “He didn’t write the book. I wrote the book. It was my book.”
He said Schwartz was “probably just doing it for the publicity” and called Schwartz’s actions disloyal.
“He owes a lot to me. I helped him when he didn’t have two cents in his pocket. It’s great disloyalty,” Trump told the New Yorker.
Trump allegedly called Schwartz after being informed of the magazine’s forthcoming tell-all, saying: “I just want to tell you that I think you’re very disloyal. Without me, you wouldn’t be where you are now. I had a lot of choice of who to have write the book, and I chose you, and I was very generous with you.”
Schwartz has pledged to donate all royalties from sales of ‘The Art of the Deal’ in 2016 to charities that benefit people who would be negatively affected by Trump’s presidency, including the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for the Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center.
“I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” he said. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that ‘The Art of the Deal’ sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”