Watch CBS News

Trump's ghostwriter says writing "The Art of the Deal" is the greatest regret of his life

Trump ghostwriter regrets "Art of the Deal"
Trump ghostwriter regrets "The Art of the Deal" 02:02

President Trump's former ghostwriter says writing "The Art of the Deal" is the biggest regret of his life and wishes the 1987 bestseller "weren't even in print."

"I knew this was a bad guy when I did the book," Tony Schwartz told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. The pair sat down for lunch at New York's ViceVersa restaurant.

"Trump is not only willing to lie, but he doesn't get bothered by it, doesn't feel guilty about it, isn't preoccupied by it," Schwartz said. "There's an emptiness inside Trump. There's an absence of a soul. There's an absence of a heart."

Garrett covered more than 75 Trump campaign rallies in 2016, and noted that rally-goers brought "The Art of the Deal" with them to the events. "They held it almost as a sacred text," said Garrett. 

The book catapulted Mr. Trump to new heights of fame upon its release, fueled in part by its review in the New York Times. Chris Lehmann-Haupt wrote "Jay Gatsby lives," and that "Trump makes one believe for a moment in the American dream again." 

Mr. Trump offered Schwartz $250,000 up front to write "The Art of the Deal," as well as half the book's royalties, which he is still getting today. Schwartz calls it "blood money" and has donated checks from the last 2.5 years to charity.

So why did he write it? "I took it on for money," Schwartz said. "The idea of selling out. I mean, the term was invented for what I did."

For more of Major's conversation with Tony Schwartz, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5 p.m., 9 p.m., and 12 a.m. ET and Saturday at 1 p.m., 9 p.m., and 12 a.m. ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings). 

Producers: Arden Farhi, Katiana Krawchenko, Jamie Benson and Sara Cook
CBSN Production: Alex Zuckerman, Eric Soussanin and Grace Segers
Show email:
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.