Donald Trump’s former ghostwriter Tony Schwartz said Wednesday that in all the decades he’s known the president, he’s never seen the man more frightening, out of control and disconnected with reality than he is now.
Schwartz, who helped write “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” spent more than 18 months in his inner circle before its 1987 publication. In a Wednesday interview on CNN, host Brianna Keilar asked Schwartz to weigh in on whether the president genuinely struggles to distinguish between what’s real and not ― an observation from journalist Bob Woodward after 18 interviews with Trump ― or if he’s simply, in the words of his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, a “con man.”
Schwartz said it’s become confusing even to him.
“I have never found in all the years I’ve known Trump, especially the last four years of his presidency, to be more frightening and more out of control and more out of touch with reality than he is today,” he said. “I mean, we are in a relentless gaslighting in which he does lie and deceive multiple times a day, much more often than he tells the truth. And he’s just stopped pretending at all.”
“Nearly everything he says now is untrue, and we now know he knows that’s untrue,” he continued. “He will say now it’s a lie that I tell a lie.”
Schwartz had not spoken publicly about Trump in decades until 2016, when he voiced his regret for his part in raising Trump’s profile and expressed deep concerns about his candidacy for president. He told The New Yorker that year that if he were to write “The Art of the Deal” then, he would call it “The Sociopath.” He has since spoken out repeatedly about him and donated royalties from the book to charity.
On CNN on Wednesday, Schwartz reiterated that Trump is motivated only by the desire to dominate. He attributes Trump’s absence of conscience and empathy to sociopathy.
“It’s as if you’re going on to a football team and saying to the other team, yeah we’re going to play the game, but we’re not going to observe any of the rules. That’s the way he operates. And more so today than ever,” he said.
Asked about how social media companies should respond to Trump’s peddling of manipulated and false content, Schwartz said that “we’re at a very dangerous moment.”
Though it has become unprecedentedly commonplace to call out the president’s lies, he said, it needs to become even more prevalent.
“We need to push back,” he said.
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