THE TRUMP OF BYGONE DAYS

Donald Trump, unlike his earlier successes, is now likely to face fierce opposition from the establishment in the United States who are beginning to wake up to the grave possibility that his candidature would spell disaster if he were to become the next president of the most powerful nation in the western hemisphere. The opposition is surfacing from many unexpected sources and, since knowing Trump as I do, it is not a surprising phenomenon.

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The man who co-wrote the book that made Donald Trump’s name has launched a campaign warning Americans not to vote for him. ‘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,’said Tony Schwartz, a journalist who shares the credit on Mr Trump’s 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal. Speaking to the New Yorker magazine, Mr Schwartz expressed deep regret over helping with the book which blends memoirs with business advice. It is also a de facto manifesto for Mr Trump’s political career. Some of the strategies that the Republican presidential nominee employs on the campaign trail were laid out in the book.

One example is his willingness to court controversy: The Art of the Deal states that ‘good publicity is preferable to bad but from a bottom-line perspective bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all.’ Critics have branded some of Mr Trump’s policies such as banning Muslims from entering the US and constructing a wall along the American-Mexican border as mere fantasy, but they are in line with the 1987 book’s advice to always aim high. ‘I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after, sometimes I settle for less than I sought but in most cases I still end up with what I want.’

Mr Trump often cites the book as proof of his ability and success, and claims that it is the most successful work of its genre ever published. It has sold about 1 million copies. ‘Truthful hyperbole’, the book says, is ‘a very effective form of promotion.’

Mr Schwartz spent 18 months with Mr Trump writing the book, for which he received half of the $500,000 advance and half of the royalty, said to amount to several million dollars. The journalist said later that he found the experience bewildering, with Mr Trump refusing to answer any of his questions and frequently lying. It was ‘ like putting 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… The tycoon would abandon voters as soon as he got what he wanted,’ Mr Schwartz predicted. ‘Donald Trump couldn’t care less about the people who are not making it in this world. Those people he considers to be losers. The minute that he gets their votes is the last time he will pay attention to them.’

Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer told The Times recently that the Republican nominee was a megalomaniac who ‘uses any means necessary to wring the maximum profit of any situation. He has used the success of The Art of the Deal to leverage more book deals which offered business advice. His Art of the Deal was quite a good book – he had quite a good ghost writer. The other ones were pretty awful but he doesn’t distinguish among them. For him, the fact that his name is on it makes it a great book,’ Mr D’Antonio said.

I first met Donald Trump when he was constructing the Trump Tower in New York and when he was actively looking for high repute international companies to occupy his building. He had his eye on Asprey when I was its CEO and we subsequently became one of his first tenants. I saw him at work on more than one occasion and I can honestly concur with those who don’t trust him, for he is a rare breed of man who will stop at nothing to attain his objective.

God help America if he bamboozles it to entrust him with its destiny.

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