The co-author of Donald Trump's best-selling “The Art of the Deal" -- who has become one of Trump's most outspoken critics during this presidential campaign — said Tuesday that he would give away the $55,000 in royalties he's made off the book over the past six months.
Tony Schwartz said that he'd given the money to the National Immigration Law Center, which helps low-income immigrants and advocates for policies that would allow more undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States legally. Schwartz said the law center would work together with four other civil rights groups, including MPower Change — which advocates for Muslim Americans.
In recent weeks, Schwartz has said that he regrets his role in building Trump's persona as a wise and clever business executive. A recent story in the New Yorker quoted Schwartz as saying, “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” In particular, Schwartz has said he fears Trump would be mercurial and easily distracted as president and that he believes Trump has demonized Hispanic immigrants and Muslims for political gain.
In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Schwartz said that his royalty checks for “The Art of the Deal” had increased since Trump began his presidential run. But, he said, the royalties “suddenly became, for me, blood money.”
“I didn't want to be anywhere near it,” Schwartz said. “It just feels wrong.”
Earlier, Schwartz had donated the $25,000 he'd received in royalties for the second half of 2015. That money had gone to the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center, which helps immigrant women and children.
Schwartz said that, with Tuesday's $55,000 donation (actually $54,632.16, after he paid his agent), he wanted to help groups that he believed Trump had attacked.
Trump himself promised, back in the 1980s, that he would donate his own proceeds from “The Art of the Deal” to charity. For a time, it appears, he did — funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into his Donald J. Trump Foundation, which then gave the money away to charities.
But now, tax records show no donations at all from Trump to the Trump Foundation since 2008. The Post has searched for evidence that Trump might be giving gifts directly from his own pocket, but has found little evidence of that in recent years: Between 2008 and this May, The Post's search turned up just one gift, worth less than $10,000.
Schwartz said that he and Trump split the book's royalties evenly: If he made $55,000 in the past six months, Trump did, too. The Post asked Trump's campaign whether Trump had donated this money to charity, in keeping with that promise from the 1980s. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond.
This post has been corrected. Schwartz initially said the law center would share his donation with four other civil rights groups.