The ghostwriter behind Donald Trump's best-selling 1987 book, "The Art of the Deal," now says he regrets the way he presented the real estate mogul after spending many months with him as they wrote the book, according to a new interview in The New Yorker.
The book helped propel Trump to national prominence and cement his image as a brilliant businessman. But Tony Schwartz, the former journalist with unparalleled access to Trump nearly 30 years ago, says he is terrified by the possibility of a Trump presidency.
"I put lipstick on a pig," he said in the New Yorker interview, published online Sunday. "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."
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"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."
Trump, who became the improbable front-runner in the Republican primaries, flew to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention Monday, to be his coronation as the party's presidential nominee.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has touted "The Art of the Deal" as proof of his toughness and negotiating finesse, the evidence behind his oft-repeated argument that he can make the best deals for the country.
Schwartz told The New Yorker he wrote most of the book and romanticized both Trump's personality and business savvy, making him appear to be driven by a love of deal making, rather than financial gain.
In the interview, Schwartz said if he were to write "The Art of the Deal" today, he would title it, "The Sociopath."
Trump also spoke to The New Yorker for the story, saying Schwartz was probably speaking out "for the publicity" and calling him disloyal.
"He owes a lot to me. I helped him when he didn't have two cents in his pocket. It's great disloyalty. I guess he thinks it's good for him-but he'll find out it's not good for him," Trump said in the article.