Slate provides quite the compendium of 141 things Donald Trump has said or done that disqualify him from the presidency. Some stand on their own to make him unfit. Others are part of a larger pattern. I’d imagine the list will grow.

Trump unqualified for the presidency? Some might say, “Tell me something I don’t already know.”

Then how about an additional reason we’ll call #142: It’s a recent assessment by Tony Schwartz, the extremely repentant ghostwriter of Trump’s best-selling 1986 memoir, The Art of the Deal:

I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.

In Jane Mayer’s current New Yorker piece quoting Schwartz as he reflects on Trump and the book, he goes on to say that he would call it “The Sociopath” if he wrote it today.

Let’s hope this is hyperbole. But let’s not be so sure.

In some ways the article offers nothing that you did not already know about Trump’s ego, narcissism, greed, manipulation, dishonesty, etc.

But…shadowing Trump for eighteen months of research and writing, Schwartz obtained a uniquely unsettling view of his shallowness:

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. 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. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said…

This year, Schwartz has heard some argue that there must be a more thoughtful and nuanced version of Donald Trump that he is keeping in reserve for after the campaign. “There isn’t,” Schwartz insists. “There is no private Trump.”

There’s much more in the article. Read it and weep.

[Hat tip to Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley for the New Yorker link.]



Based in Oakland, California, Stephen Golub writes, consults and teaches about international development, with a particular focus on justice, democracy, human rights and governance issues. Currently teaching part-time at Central European University in Budapest and previously at the University of California at Berkeley, he has worked in over 40 countries and with such organizations as Amnesty International, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Ford and Open Society Foundations, the U.K. Department for International Development, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank

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