8 Things to Know From the Trump Ghostwriter Interview

July 18th 2016

In 1987, Donald Trump, with the help of writer Tony Schwartz, produced the best-selling book "The Art of the Deal." In 2015, at a campaign stop in Michigan, Trump said it was his second-favorite book of all time.

"You know what my first is? The Bible!"

The Art of the Deal bookAmazon - amazon.com

But Schwartz does not feel the same.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Schwartz was not shy about sharing his experience working with Trump. Here are eight revelations from the Trump ghostwriter interview you need to know.

1. Schwartz believes a Trump presidency would be "the end of civilization."

Schwartz also feels a personal sense of responsibility for Trump's rise:

"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."

2. If he were to publish the book today, it would have a different title.

He would call it "The Sociopath."

3. Working with Trump was not easy, mainly because "he has no attention span."

Schwartz also describes Trump as being "fidgety," and likening him to "a kindergartner who can’t sit still in a classroom."

"Impatient," "irritable," and "bored" were more words Schwartz used to describe The Donald. "[...] 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."

4. Schwartz doubts that Trump has even read "The Art of the Deal."

Or any other book for that matter. Perhaps due to Trump's short attention span, Schwartz "seriously doubts that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life." It's a suspicion further backed by Schwartz's observation that Trump may not have owned any books in the first place:

"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."

5. Schwartz basically wrote the book by listening in on Donald Trump's phone conversations.

Because Trump was so unwilling to sit still and answer questions, Schwartz needed to explore other ways of getting the information he needed:

"He 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. That way, extracting extended reflections from Trump would not be required. When Schwartz presented the idea to Trump, he loved it. Almost every day from then on, Schwartz sat about eight feet away from him in the Trump Tower office, listening on an extension of Trump’s phone line. Schwartz says that none of the bankers, lawyers, brokers, and reporters who called Trump realized that they were being monitored."

6. Trump has no close friends.

Although Schwartz didn't know it at the time, Donald Trump was allegedly having an affair with actress Marla Maples, which explained why he and then-wife Ivana were unusually cold with each other. But it turns out that coldness wasn't unusual after all.

Roy Cohn, Trump's personal lawyer, was perhaps the closest person to Trump — until Cohn became ill with AIDS. He felt Trump "abandoned" him, saying, "Donald pisses ice water." While shadowing Trump, Schwartz said he never saw him spending time with friends or family. He believes Trump's friendships are merely "transactional."

7. Trump lied — or exaggerated — just about everything.

Trump was building a few casinos at the time of the writing, and made it sound as though he was having a lot of success with them, but, "every one of them was failing. [...] He was losing millions of dollars a day. He had to have been terrified."

When Schwartz would try to verify information Trump gave him, he would get conflicting reports. "Lying is second nature to him," Schwartz said. Trump would lie — or exaggerate — about the prices of buildings, how much money his casinos earned, and would even plant info about himself to reporters.

And of course he lied about who wrote "The Art of the Deal," telling The New Yorker, "[Schwartz] didn’t write the book. I wrote the book. I wrote the book. It was my book." Howard Kaminsky, former head of Random House Publishing, told The New Yorker with a laugh, "Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!"

8. After learning of the interview, Trump called Schwartz to tell him, "You should have just remained silent."

"I hear you’re not voting for me," Trump said to Schwartz in a phone call, minutes after speaking to The New Yorker.

"I just talked to The New Yorker — which, by the way, is a failing magazine that no one reads — and I heard you were critical of me. [...] you should have just remained silent. 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. [...] Have a nice life."

You can read the full interview on The New Yorker.

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