What ‘The Art of the Deal”s Ghostwriter Learned About the Real Donald Trump

In the 1980s, a New York magazine writer named Tony Schwartz wrote a critical cover story about Donald Trump’s aggressive business tactics as a real estate developer. Much to his surprise, Trump loved the article—and he recruited Schwartz to ghost write a memoir about his success in business.

The result, The Art of the Deal, became a national bestseller—but now Schwartz is speaking out for the first time, telling The New Yorker he regrets the image and mythology of Trump that he helped create. His experience convinced him that Trump is unfit to serve as president:

This year, Schwartz has heard some argue that there must be a more thoughtful and nuanced version of Donald Trump that he is keeping in reserve for after the campaign. “There isn’t,” Schwartz insists. “There is no private Trump.” This is not a matter of hindsight. While working on “The Art of the Deal,” Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’—recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986. But, as he noted in the journal a few days later, “the book will be far more successful if Trump is a sympathetic character—even weirdly sympathetic—than if he is just hateful or, worse yet, a one-dimensional blowhard.”

Interestingly, the idea for the book itself came from neither Schwartz nor Trump, but Si Newhouse, the media magnate whose company owns Condé Nast, the parent company of The New Yorker.

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