There’s an old saying that everybody has their price, and for ex-magazine writer Tony Schwartz that price was $250,000 and a 50/50 royalty split. According to a recent article in The New Yorker, Schwartz’s deal with the devil came back in 1985 when a 38-year-old Donald Trump offered him the chance to ghostwrite his now infamous business-minded memoir The Art of the Deal. Now, Schwartz has moved to atone for his political sins by donating all 2016 royalties from the book to a number of charities and immigrant rights organizations, including the National Immigration Law Center and the National Immigration Forum.
According to the article, Schwartz was never particularly fond of Trump, and before the book had written an unflattering profile for New York Magazine that the Donald somehow fell in love with. But when an offer was on the table, all Schwartz could think about was buying a bigger house for his growing family – and that’s how a monster was born.
Schwartz and a number of Trump biographers all seem to agree that the New York real estate mogul’s personal mythology began with The Art of the Deal before making its way to primetime with The Apprentice, and finally to the 24-hour news cycle with his unlikely presidential run. Nevertheless, as Schwartz reveals with more than a tinge of regret, the book was mostly a glowing fabrication of a much darker reality.
In his interview with The New Yorker, Schwartz spoke of Trump’s manipulation tactics, penchant for lying, cronyism, and all-around unethical behavior as hallmarks of his personality. And, as anyone with a pair of eyes and access to news media can see, he suggested that the textbook narcissist just wants to be the greatest at everything with little care for anyone else. Unfortunately for Schwartz, he has to live with the knowledge that he helped him on his way. Now at least he won’t be getting his hands even dirtier with all those royalty checks.
“I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” Schwartz told The New Yorker. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that ‘The Art of the Deal’ sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”