Tony Schwartz tweeted several reminders this past year that he wrote Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal,” but has kept mum about revealing more, even ignoring requests for interviews, including one by me for this paper. The Jewish entrepreneur, author and founder of The Energy Project, has now decided to break that silence with a candid interview with Jane Mayer in this week’s issue of The New Yorker where he talks about Trump’s childish impatience, greed for attention and money, and tactful schemes of “playing” his business associates. He said that if he were to rewrite the book, he would title it “The Sociopath.”
“He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t. It wasn’t personal. He’s a transactional man—it was all about what you could do for him,” Schwartz told The New Yorker.
The piece pulls from Schwartz’s personal journal, which reveals the inner struggle he had taking on the project. He risked his journalism career and reputation, but Trump’s offer of half the royalties and half of the $500,000 advance meant more financial security. Trump’s short fallings didn’t slip past him though.
“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,” wrote Schwartz in his journal.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” Schwartz told the New Yorker. “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.”
After Mayer interviewed Trump for the piece, the Donald swiftly called Schwartz.
“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. I know that you gave a lot of speeches and lectures using ‘The Art of the Deal.’ I could have sued you, but I didn’t,” Trump told Schwartz.