Tony Schwartz publishes negative Trump story, Trump hires him

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On February 11, 1985, the cover of New York magazine features a familiar character in an unfamiliar light: Donald Trump, unshaven and sweaty. Today’s cover story is “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story” by Tony Schwartz.

Schwartz’s piece portrays Trump as a greedy building owner, unafraid to tear down the guy who has nothing if it means he gets a little more. It tells the story of Central Park South, where Trump is trying (and failing) to evict occupants who live in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments. His efforts are going so poorly that his next idea is to fill the building with homeless people until the tenants leave.

Despite the context of the article, Trump loves the attention from the magazine. He frames it and hangs it in his office, alongside more flattering covers. He even sends a letter to Schwartz, thanking him and adding “Everybody seems to have read it.”

Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met. He was obsessed with publicity, and he didn’t care what you wrote… Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever, or you’re the greatest. I became the greatest. He wanted to be seen as a tough guy, and he loved being on the cover.

Tony Schwartz

By the end of the year, Trump hires Schwartz to write his first book, The Art of the Deal. Speaking of his work for Trump years later, Schwartz says “I put lipstick on a pig.”

External Sources

The New Yorker (Archived)

Google Books

Photo: New York Magazine

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