Ghostwriting, Politics and Donald Trump

Elections, Writers & Writing — By on July 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm

GhostwritingSince I follow politics closely and have also done some ghostwriting, I was intrigued to discover this recent story in the New Yorker in which Donald Trump’s ghostwriter for his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, essentially apologizes for his role in helping to create the mythology of Trump.

One of the more interesting quotes from the piece is this…

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he 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.”

Or maybe this…

Schwartz reminded himself that he was being paid to tell Trump’s story, not his own, but the more he worked on the project the more disturbing he found it. In his journal, he describes the hours he spent with Trump as “draining” and “deadening.” Schwartz told me that Trump’s need for attention is “completely compulsive,” and that his bid for the Presidency is part of a continuum. “He’s managed to keep increasing the dose for forty years,” Schwartz said. After he’d spent decades as a tabloid titan, “the only thing left was running for President. If he could run for emperor of the world, he would.”

If Schwartz had issues with Trump, though, it’s fair to ask – well, why did he agree to write the book in the first place?

“It was one of a number of times in my life when I was divided between the Devil and the higher side,” he told me. … Around the time Trump made his offer, Schwartz’s wife, Deborah Pines, became pregnant with their second daughter, and he worried that the family wouldn’t fit into their Manhattan apartment, whose mortgage was already too high. “I was overly worried about money,” Schwartz said. “I thought money would keep me safe and secure—or that was my rationalization.”

Money. So many of our choices come down to money, don’t they?

In any case, the piece is a fascinating read. Heck, even if you can’t stand politics, the story touches on the work of a ghostwriter, a behind-the-scenes look at Trump, and even some questions about life – i.e., what are you willing to do for money and how do your choices affect your own view of yourself? Check it out.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons photo by hobvias sudoneighm

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