Monday, July 18, 2016

The Art of the Deal

Donald Trump likes to mention his book, The Art of the Deal. Only it's not really his book. It was ghost-written by Tony Schwartz who says, if he had a chance to change the title, he'd call it The Sociopath.

In this, the Week of Our Donald, Schwartz has given a tell-all interview to The New Yorker about his experiences with Trump in the preparation of the book. It's kind of chilling. Here are a few teasers:

“I put lipstick on a pig,” [Schwartz] 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.” He went on, “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.”

If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”

Schwartz had written about Trump before. In 1985, he’d published a piece in New York called “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,” which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug who had unsuccessfully tried to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South. Trump’s efforts—which included a plan to house homeless people in the building in order to harass the tenants—became what Schwartz described as a “fugue of failure, a farce of fumbling and bumbling.” An accompanying cover portrait depicted Trump as unshaven, unpleasant-looking, and shiny with sweat. Yet, to Schwartz’s amazement, Trump loved the article. He hung the cover on a wall of his office, and sent a fan note to Schwartz, on his gold-embossed personal stationery. “Everybody seems to have read it,” Trump enthused in the note, which Schwartz has kept.

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “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,” he said.

...Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” 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.

...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.”

Lying is second nature to him,” Schwartz said. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.” Often, Schwartz said, the lies that Trump told him were about money—“how much he had paid for something, or what a building he owned was worth, or how much one of his casinos was earning when it was actually on its way to bankruptcy.” Trump bragged that he paid only eight million dollars for Mar-a-Lago, but omitted that he bought a nearby strip of beach for a record sum.

The New Yorker piece is an important glimpse inside the dangerously hollow man who would be president of the United States. That so many Americans would even consider voting for a man so apparently unhinged should concern us all.


Northern PoV said...

Unexpected political outcomes are becoming the norm...

Notley's NDP in charge of Alberta. Young Trudeau reigning in Ottawa.

Hillary Clinton almost got smoked yet again - by a grumpy old socialist.
(She is a dangerously weak candidate to stand against Trump and was choosen by cronies.)
And in the UK, Brexit was supposed to lose and Labour elite doesn't like their own grumpy socialist ... but the lumpen proletariat seem to.

Lots can happen between now and November.
More of ... Paris, Nice, Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge.
I'd give 50/50 odds on "President Trump".

Unknown said...

For me it was over Mound when Americans let their Supreme Court choose Bush as their president, then they gave him a second term.I will not be surprised at all if Trump becomes president. America is the most anti-intellectual culture in the world.Their own government has been shafting them since the end of WW2. They act as if their living in a John Wayne film.

Anonymous said...

3:22. Of course that isn't happening here at in crocked Canadian Politicians. We are all Saints right?