Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote Donald Trump's 1987 book The Art of the Deal, is now one of the president's most vocal critics

By Maria Pasquini
May 09, 2019 05:30 PM
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Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Since it’s unlikely The Art of the Deal will go out of print anytime soon, the book’s co-author Tony Schwartz has a different proposal.

Shortly after The New York Times published a damning report detailing President Donald Trump‘s business and financial woes over the ‘80s and ‘90s, Schwartz — who has emerged as an extremely vocal critic of Trump — shared that he believed the 1987 memoir, which served as a testament to Trump’s business acumen, should be recategorized as a work of fiction.

“Given the Times report on Trump’s staggering losses, I’d be fine if Random House simply took the book out of print. Or recategorized it as fiction,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired the same day, Schwartz went on to share that given the choice to re-title the book today, he would dub it The Sociopath — a claim he previously made during a 2016 interview with The New Yorker.

“He has no conscience, he has no guilt. All he wants to do is make the case that he would like to be true,” Schwartz told Cooper. “He does not experience the world in a way that an ordinary human being would.”

Asked whether he honestly believed Trump to be a sociopath, Schwartz took a pause before replying, “without any question.”

“I encourage people who wonder [about] that to simply Google ‘sociopath’ and the first or second entry gives you 9 or 10 describe words,” he continued. “It always includes a kind of pathological narcissism, which is what many people describe him as being, but it adds the element of absence of conscience, which changes everything.”

According to the Times report, federal tax documents from 1985 to 1994 show that Trump only paid income taxes twice during those years, earning his exemption otherwise due to the massive amounts of money he was losing.

Trump totaled losses over $1 billion during that 10-year period — a reality at odds with how he has marketed himself as a deal-savvy businessman, including during the 2016 presidential election.

“In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer,” the Times reported.

Trump quickly slammed the Times investigation as a “hit job” but did not dispute the losses themselves. Instead, the president obliquely defended the large sums as “depreciations” and “massive write-offs.”

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This is far from the first time Schwartz has publicly slammed Trump.

“I do regret writing the book,” Schwartz told Good Morning America about The Art of the Deal in 2016. “I never in a million years thought he would run for president. Had I thought that 30 years ago, I wouldn’t have written the book. But for 29 years I didn’t think he would and it didn’t seem like it was important to speak out. I now feel it’s my civic duty. I have nothing to gain from this.”

Echoing the comment to The New Yorker that year, Schwartz elaborated, “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.”

As royalties for the book surged during the 2016 presidential race, Schwartz also announced he had donated the $55,000 he had recently made to help groups that he believed had been targeted by Trump, according to The Washington Post.

“It just feels wrong,” Schwartz said.