Donald Trump has been trumpeting his success as a dealmaker for decades, and for almost a year he has been selling America on the notion that he would bring his extraordinary skills at the negotiating table to the Oval Office.
In April he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that his number one priority is “to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” And he has told crowd after cheering crowd that he would renegotiate big trade deals such as NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership that have siphoned away the jobs of American workers.
A significant segment of his supporters see in Trump a wildly successful businessman who will get the country a better deal in agreements with foreign nations than politicians with no experience in the world of commerce have been able to accomplish.
In a tweet three days ago, Trump said in part: “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Crooked Hillary will sell us out, just like her husband did with NAFTA.”
But now the co-author of The Art of the Deal, the 1987 book that catapulted Trump from a New York real estate developer on the make to the slickest guy at the negotiating table, is on a campaign to discredit the about-to-be Republican presidential nominee.
In an interview in The New Yorker and on a morning TV show, Tony Schwartz called Trump a sociopath with the attention span of a small child who could put civilization at risk if he had the nuclear codes in his pocket. And he said he wrote every word of the book, with Trump making only a few notations on the manuscript.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” Schwartz told writer Jane Mayer. “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.”
And in a Reuters story today, six bankers and lawyers involved in Trump’s brush with bankruptcy in 1990 – the subject of his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback – are disputing the billionaire’s version of events.
It wasn’t Trump who realized he was in trouble when the real estate market took a dive – as Trump claims – but the banks, the story says. Three of those who took part in talks with Trump say he didn’t acknowledge he had a problem until summoned to discuss how to restructure debt of more than $4 billion owed to 70 banks, Reuters says.
Schwartz, now the CEO of the Energy Project, a consulting firm, told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that he would never have written the book that was on the New York Times bestseller list for about 50 weeks if he had known it would contribute to the rise of Trump.
Trump, however, told The New Yorker that he wrote the book and he made Schwartz rich “when he didn’t have two cents in his pocket.”