A lovely, soft morning here on San Francisco Bay. I have been sitting out in the garden, partially shaded by a large, green beach umbrella and feeling the warm sun on my bare feet. The garden and our apartment are at the back of the building, so it’s like living in the middle of a square city block, a refuge from this increasingly horrific world. It’s good to get away once in a while, to notice the bees buzzing around the flowers, the humming birds flitting by with a flash of iridescent green. One delicate pink flower that looks as though it should be waving in a mountain meadow, is the bloom of a succulent. When the sun is on it, it actually glows. I’ve no idea what it’s called. A bit to the right, I’m presented with an intricate web constructed between two dried up spider plant blossoms. Again, I’m ignorant of the genius that created it. Not an orb spider, that’s all I know.
It’s a good time to be thinking about flowers and spiders and such, but of course I can’t for long. I’m reading an interview with Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, in the latest New Yorker. Wow, what a reality check! In his interview by Jane Mayer, Schwartz, who was previously a well-regarded journalist, admits that he “put lipstick on a pig”–sold out for money when he wrote the book. Once Trump’s campaign for President began to look serious, Schwartz felt he had to speak out:
“Trump has been written about in a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me, “….And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then…” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement.
Later in the article, he expands on this theme:
“I created a character far more winning than Trump actually is.” The first line of the book is an example. “I don’t do it for the money,” Trump declares. “I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry, I like making deals. That’s how I get my kicks.” Schwartz now laughs at this depiction of Trump as an artisan. “Of course he’s in it for the money,” he said. “One of the most deep and basic needs he has is to prove that ‘I’m richer than you.'” ….He saw Trump as driven not by a pure love of dealmaking but by an insatiable hunger for “money, praise, and celebrity.”
From a man who spent eight months dogging Trump’s footsteps, listening to every business phone call, and keeping his real thoughts to himself in a personal journal, it’s a pretty frightening story. Nothing in Trump’s campaign, or, more particularly, in his speech accepting the nomination, does anything to contradict Schwartz’s portrait.
Enough! I’m going back to the garden.