It certainly behooves US voters to know the real Donald Trump. Tony Schwartz, ghost writer for Trump's best-selling Art of the Deal has just come forward after 30 years with a 'tell all' New Yorker interview based on the 18 months he spent with Trump when writing the book.
The public already knew that Trump has sued and been sued thousands of times in court over his business practices, declared bankruptcy four times (plus two more BKs by investors left with the casino's assets), and been indicted on RICO charges in a San Diego court over Trump University.
His supporters maintain his racist, wall building, anti-abortion, Putin-loving, anti-trade remarks aren't the real Trump. He is really a loving and lovable family man, who supports his friends and treats his employees fairly, whatever their ethnicity.
But Schwartz maintains there is no real Trump. He is whoever you want or would like him to be, and totally focused on making deals that benefit him. It can be either sad, or terrifying.
"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 Jane Mayer, author of a New Yorker article. "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 . . . 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," said Schwartz.
"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."
There is more to come on the real Trump. A hearing this Friday is scheduled in Judge Gonzalo Curiel's San Diego courtroom on whether to dismiss the RICO charges in the Cohen vs. Trump class action lawsuit that maintains Trump intentionally defrauded hundreds of students who enrolled in Trump University.
The case contends that Trump University amounted to civil racketeering, a fraud that lured customers into spending thousands of dollars by making false promises that they would learn the businessman's secrets, taught by his hand-picked instructors--which is why the case is being made under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
It is however unlikely that Judge Curiel will honor Trump's request to dismiss the very damaging RICO charges, if true. That's because, in the words of the plaintiff's attorneys, representing those defrauded by Trump University:
"Trump denies operating and managing the 'fraudulent marketing scheme' alleged here because he only starred in the marketing materials; signed the marketing materials; corrected the marketing materials; and approved the marketing materials. And therefore, he deserves summary judgment. Because he did not operate and manage the Trump University 'fraudulent marketing scheme.' He only starred in the marketing materials. Signed them. Corrected them. And approved them."
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."
Presidential candidate Trump might not want the public to know the real Trump, even if there is such a person. That's because he has branded himself as the "best of the best". He has attempted to enshrine his name -- and therefore himself -- as synonymous with success, when the facts under increasing scrutiny seem to be just the opposite.
Harlan Green © 2016
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