Myth of Trump as 'self-made man' ends with New York Times report, says Art of the Deal writer Tony Schwartz

'It's like the cover has been ripped off this man. Whatever myth there was, as you said earlier, that he was a self-made man, or that he was even a legitimate businessman, is gone forever'

 

Donald Trump received millions from his parents, report claims.
Donald Trump received millions from his parents, report claims.

Tony Schwartz, who as the co-author of The Art of the Deal, helped Donald Trump cement his reputation as a man of economic acumen and moxie, said in an interview that a New York Times report documenting the financial assistance Mr Trump received from his father obliterated for good the idea Trump is a self-made man.

Mr Schwartz, an outspoken critic of his former counterpart, made the remarks on cable channel MSNBC in the hours after the publication of the New York Times investigation, which found that the future president "participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents," in addition to receiving at least $413m from his father's real estate business.

Mr Trump has routinely spun the by-the-bootstraps story that he turned a $1m loan into a multibillion-dollar empire, as the newspaper notes.

Mr Schwartz, who has expressed regret for helping to write The Art of the Deal - memorably telling the New Yorker in 2016 that he felt like he had "put lipstick on a pig" by helping Trump sell an idealised image of himself - said that he had long believed that issues around tax fraud and money laundering could end up being a significant legal threat for Mr Trump. Still, he said he was shocked by the breadth of information revealed by the report.

"It goes far beyond even what I thought had happened," Mr Schwartz said. "It's like the cover has been ripped off this man. Whatever myth there was, as you said earlier, that he was a self-made man, or that he was even a legitimate businessman, is gone forever."

Trump declined to comment for The New York Times story, reported, but a Trump lawyer blasted report.

Charles Harder called the fraud and tax evasion allegations "100 percent false, and highly defamatory."

"The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate," Mr Harder said, according to The New York Times.

Mr Schwartz has long tried to offer interpretations of Mr Trump's mind and he said that he guessed that the report would enrage Mr Trump more than "virtually anything that ever happened to him."

"This is a man who invented himself. That's his claim to fame," Mr Schwartz said. "He literally invented it from whole cloth. There's nothing about him that is real. Now we really see that. And it's extraordinary."

The New York Times report was based on interviews and more than 100,000 pages of documents acquired by the newspaper that describe "the inner workings and immense profitability" of Fred Trump's real estate business, as well as tens of thousands of pages confidential records.

"What emerges from this body of evidence is a financial biography of the 45th president fundamentally at odds with the story Mr. Trump has sold in his books, his TV shows and his political life," the report says.

The New York Times reported that it found that Fred and his wife Mary Trump gave more than $1bn (£770m) in wealth to their children, but paid only $52.2m (£42.2m) - 5 percent - tax instead of the $550m (£423) potentially required under the tax rate for gifts and inheritance.

In a statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the newspaper's story a "misleading attack."

"Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions," she claimed, complaining that "The New York Times can rarely find anything positive about the President and his tremendous record of success to report."

The Washington Times

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in