Friday, July 22, 2016

LIZ SMITH: The "Art" of The Deal

"Did I tell you she was a Great Lady, or what!?"
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Edith Piaf had No Regrets — Tony Schwartz, who wrote Donald Trump's "The Art of The Deal," has More Regrets than he can count!!


“AMERICA HAS entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember,” said John le Carré some years ago.

Oh, Mr. le Carré, what do you think of us now?!
DURING THIS week of the Republican National Convention, we have pretty much held our tongues. Except for rolling my eyes at the “scandal” of Melania Trump’s speech, I felt we should avoid what was happening in Cleveland — it’s not like many of you didn’t know. We are captives.

(In the matter of the graduate of “university in Slovenia” — with Moose and Squirrel? — we were chastised by one reader who said plagiarism is a serious thing, and not to shrug off the Melania debacle. I replied to this person — a most intelligent lady — saying that Melania was not going to be president, but her husband stood a good chance. I was less interested in her remarks, however they came to her, than I was by the devastatingly backward, scary Republican platform, and some of the truly insane things uttered onstage — such as shooting Hillary Clinton. Many of the TV “anchors” and pundits who were spewing “ethics” re Melania’s speech, had long thrown theirs away for more ratings and Twitter followers.)
ANYWAY, the convention is over. Today is Friday. We are unbound, as they say in the political world.

We feel somehow that it is our duty to urge our smart readers to pick up — either in physical form or online — the stunning article by Jane Mayer in the July 25th issue of The New Yorker. It is titled “Trump’s Boswell Speaks: The Ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal says that Trump is unfit to lead.” We are likely preaching to the chorus here, but even so, perhaps that chorus will energize itself more to do what they can — get out and vote for Hillary, for example. Because this is one of the most damning, frightening pieces yet on Donald Trump, coming from a man — Tony Schwartz — who knows him well, and who gains nothing from telling his story.
“THE ART of The Deal” was published in 1987 by Random House and became a huge bestseller, a phenomenon — 48 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list, 13 of them at No.1. The book enlarged Trump’s already large name and image, burnishing it, too. It established him, in the public’s eye, as a brash but “loveable” business genius. (The book was written during the waning days of Trump’s marriage to Ivana. Later, author Schwartz — and the rest of the world! — learned of his affair with Marla Maples. This resulted in scandal, marriage, daughter Tiffany, and eventually, divorce. Tiffany was one of Trump’s children who spoke fondly of him at the convention.)

The reality, as Schwartz notes — to the New Yorker, and in a diary he kept during the 18 months he wrote and traveled with Trump — was that Donald was not loveable, and not quite the genius he brags he is.

Although Tony Schwartz, no longer a journalist, willingly put his name on the cover of the book — in much smaller type — made a lot of money from it, and never publicly corrected Trump when the “billionaire” bragged he’d actually written the whole thing, Tony now suffers a great deal watching Donald inch closer to possibly becoming the most powerful man in the world — president of the United States.

Herewith, I submit a series of quotes from Schwartz, contained in Ms. Mayer’s article. Again, I urge you all to read the piece in its entirety, but these remarks give a salient idea:

“The prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology — Schwartz doubted he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.”

... ”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 knew I was selling out. Literally, the term was invented to describe what I did.”

... ”It is impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for even more than a few minutes, and even then ... If he had to be briefed on a crisis, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time.”

... ”He has a stunning level of superficial knowledge and just plain ignorance ... I seriously doubt Trump has ever read a book straight through in his entire life.”
... ”He loved attention,” Schwartz recalled of the months he spent following Trump, which included, with Trump’s approval, listening in on his phone calls. “If he could have had three thousand people listening in, he would have been even happier. There is no ‘private Trump.’”

... ”Lying is second nature to him.”

... ”Whenever the thin veneer of his vanity is challenged,” Schwartz says he overreacts — not an ideal quality in a head of state.

ILLUSTRATION BY JAVIER JAÉN
... ”If he could run for emperor of the world, he would.”

... ”Donald pisses ice water. He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t ... it was all about what you could do for him.”

... “If Trump is elected president, be warned, the millions of people who voted for him, and believe he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows — that he couldn’t care less about them.”

When Jane Mayer asked Tony Schwartz what he’d title “The Art of the Deal” today, he replied instantly — “The Sociopath.”

I don’t expect anybody who already loves or is bedazzled by Trump to care about Tony Schwartz’s observations. You others, who might be on the ledge, in the middle, made crazy by what you see as two unpalatable choices — read this article!

P.S. Tony Schwartz says his writing “The Art of the Deal” is “something I’ll carry until the end of my life. There’s no righting it.” However, he now pledges all royalties to various civil rights charities. He says, “I like the idea that the more copies that ‘The Art of the Deal’ sells, the more money I can donate to people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”
Tony Schwartz, Ivana Trump, Francesco Scavullo, and Donald Trump celebrate the publication of "The Art of the Deal." Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images
ENDQUOTE: “I am a Christian, a Conservative, a Republican, in that order.” That’s the way Mike Pence, Mr. Trump’s VP pick, famously introduces himself. A Christian first? Hmmmm ... since this man might someday be a heartbeat away from the presidency, he needs to be schooled that America is a democracy, not a theocracy. Oh, and speaking of America — where does he say he’s an American? Isn’t he? Is he hiding something that he won’t say it? Surely this a job for conspiracy buff Donald Trump, yes?

Mike Pence, possible president. Just another reason to think very carefully before you cast your vote.

Contact Liz here.