'That's Just His Style,' Former Trump Business Exec Says of President's Questionable Deal-making Abilities

Donald Trump has always boasted about his ability to make deals, but the ghostwriting agreement for his book The Art of the Deal suggests the president is not the expert negotiator he believes himself to be.

Tony Schwartz, Trump's ghostwriter, was given a $500,000 advance and half of the royalties made on the book after its publish date. Those royalties have accumulated to millions of dollars, and since Trump's election Schwartz has donated the proceeds to nonprofit organizations like the National Immigration Law Center and other civil rights groups.

Business expert Deepak Malhotra said in a recent interview with Politico that "what should have been a great deal on a book about negotiation is actually one of the most interesting pieces of evidence he's not a good negotiator."

Most ghostwriters receive a modest flat fee or a small percentage of book sale revenue. Rarely does a writer get both.

"I don't think there's a better ghostwriting deal out there," Malhotra added.

During his 2016 campaign Trump constantly referenced his skills as a businessman, suggesting his ability to negotiate would make him a better president than his opponents with years of government work experience.

At one GOP debate Trump criticized then-President Barack Obama's deal-making strategy, lamenting his use of executive orders and arguing that: "You can't leave the White House, go to Hawaii and play golf for three weeks and be a real deal maker. It doesn't work that way."


But Trump's first 16 months in the White House have been defined by his inability to work with Congress to get things done.

The 45th President is on pace to sign more executive orders than any other commander-in-chief in history. He has also failed to deliver on key campaign promises, like repealing the Affordable Care Act or building a border wall with Mexico. His complete abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal, offering no viable replacement strategy, had some Republican lawmakers shaking their heads.

Currently, all eyes are on President Trump to make a deal for a historic sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two were on track to meet at a summit in mid-June but Trump pulled out of the agreement last week, stating that Kim's aggressive rhetoric and hostility towards the U.S. caused him to reconsider any possible negotiations.

But former Trump business executive Jack O'Donnell told Politico that this is simply a part of Trump's signature "style."

U.S. President Donald Trump smiles after signing an executive order in December of 2017. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

"He will say anything to keep people thinking that they're going to wind up doing a deal that's good for them," O'Donnell said. "He gets people to believe, or tries to get people to believe, that they're going to get a really good deal—even though he's obviously only concerned about getting a good deal for himself."

'That's Just His Style,' Former Trump Business Exec Says of President's Questionable Deal-making Abilities | U.S.