Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston last week became the latest of Donald Trump’s biographers to denounce him and his presidential campaign.
“He’s a con man,” Johnston told a National Press Club audience Aug. 4 in describing his new book The Making of Donald Trump.
Worse, said Johnston (shown in a Justice Integrity Project photo during his talk), Trump is the product of unusually corrupt or otherwise disturbing relationships. These include Trump's KKK-supporting father, the ruthless late superlawyer Roy Cohn, plus powerful leaders in the Gambino and Genovese Mafia families, as well as oligarchs surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If people want to elect Donald Trump after they read my book, then they should vote for him, but they should know who they are voting for,” said Johnston, who said he met Trump 28 years ago. “They are voting for a man that doesn’t know anything about anything, who bluffs his way through everything, who has one skill and that is how to make deals that bring cash to him to support the lifestyle that creates the appearance of being a billionaire, and who has no regard for his fellow man.”
Johnston thus joins The Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz in bashing Trump in harsh terms. Schwartz has been saying in recent weeks that the 1987 book that made Trump famous should have been entitled The Sociopath because Trump is too greedy and deranged to merit the presidency.
Schwartz, told the New Yorker in an exclusive interview with Jane Mayer published July 18 that the thought of a Trump presidency is “terrifying.”
“I genuinely believe," Schwartz said, "that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” Conservative MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough separately added a similar concern, as reported Aug. 2 by the Huffington Post in, Joe Scarborough: Donald Trump Repeatedly Asked Why We Couldn’t Use Nukes.
Such serious attacks are rare in a presidential campaign by writers of stature, long study and access to a candidate.
Three recent anti-Hillary Clinton books were listed in the top 10 of the Washington Post's Aug. 7 regional best-seller list. They were by former uniformed Secret Service agent Gary Byrne, conservative pundits Dinesh D'Souza, and Dick Morris and the latter's wife Eileen McGann.
But each has been attacked as partisan or otherwise biased. For example, a Politico article in June headlined, Secret Service veterans denounce anti-Clinton tell-all book, reported "The author of a new tell-all book about Hillary Clinton could never have seen any of what he claims — he was too low-ranking — say several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details, including the president of the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service."
By contrast, Johnston and Schwartz are major New York Times and otherwise credentialed reporters with rare access to Trump that began for each of them nearly 30 years ago.
Johnston, whose book is already a best-seller after publication Aug. 2, says he believes his book draws on the largest collection of Trump-related documents anywhere in the hands of the press thanks to the generous cooperation of other Trump biographers, such as Wayne Barrett.
Schwartz is speaking out for the first time against Trump after the two made millions of dollars from the 1987 Art of the Deal book. Trump's lawyers immediately filed a demand for return of the money July 20 after Schwartz's interviews but Schwartz says his main priority must to be warn the public against Trump, not fear litigation.
Beyond these two, Trump faces similar attacks from his wealthy business colleagues and retired government executives that dwarf what even the opponent he calls “crooked Hillary” has ever had to face.
Billionaire businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who won his first two mayoral terms as a Republican and last as an independent, endorsed Clinton at the Democratic National Convention with the comment that the nation needs a "sane and competent" president, not a "demagogue." Bloomberg, ranked this summer as the world's eighth richest person, was one of a number of business, military, intelligence, and Republican thought leaders to denounce Trump in recent days.