Donald Trump may still be in office, but his magnum opus just got impeached. The Art of the Deal, Trump’s first book, held the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list for 13 weeks following its 1987 release by Random House. More than just a financial success, the book did wonders for Trump’s branding campaign, helping him promote the Trump name while defining himself as a wildly successful person in the minds of Americans. He even used the book to support the legitimacy of his presidential campaign, declaring “We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal” when announcing his candidacy at Trump Tower, not long after calling Mexican immigrants rapists.
This rosy painting came crashing down Tuesday night when The New York Times published a bombshell about Donald Trump’s 1985-1994 taxes. The first major headline from this reporting is that Trump managed to lose a whopping $1.1 billion during that time period. The second headline is that Trump did not pay any taxes for eight of those years, despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle.
Thanks to these revelations, it is now clear that Trump’s book, published within the decade in question, is itself a con job. Just ask the book’s real author, Tony Schwartz, who tweeted yesterday: “Given the Times report on Trump’s staggering losses, I’d be fine if Random House simply took the book out of print. Or recategorized it as fiction.” Although Trump has made claims to the contrary, Howard Kaminsky, who headed Random House at the time, confirmed that Trump did not contribute to the writing of the book. As he revealed to The New Yorker in 2016, “Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!”
Donald Trump’s literary “masterpiece,” which has served as the foundation of his business acumen and reflection of his success, has now been metaphorically ripped up. Trump did not write any of it, and for all we know he never bothered to read it. But now we also know that no one should bother reading any of it because, as its true author pointed out this week, it’s all fiction.