A duo of biographers of President Donald Trump appeared on CNN Friday evening to explain that his businesses and professional life typically result in failures once he takes hold of them.
The discussion addressed the recent New York Times interview with Tony Schwartz, co-author of The Art of the Deal.
“People are not people to him, they are instruments of his ego,” Schwartz, told The Times. “And when they serve his ego, they survive, and when they don’t, they pass into the night.”
He added: “Ultimately, the fate of anyone who casts their lot with Trump is — you are passing through. And I just can’t think of anybody for whom it is not true.”
He’s not the only one to notice the problematic relationships. Trump biographer Michael d’Antonio rattled off several businesses that the self-described billionaire ran into the ground.
“At about the time Trump was pursuing his casino developments, he opened Trump Airways,” d’Antonio recalled. “He burned through executives there. Actually, you know The Times headline about people crashing? He would say terrible things about airline safety and they would beg him, ‘Please, listen to us, we know what we’re doing.’ And he ran that company into the ground.”
Jack O’Donnell, the former president and COO of Trump Plaza Casino, agreed, noting that when Trump has CEOs for his businesses, they do well. Once Trump takes them over, however, everything changes.
“We were pretty stable,” O’Donnell said. “But as soon as Donald took control and he had direct reports is when he started burning through people. So, I think what Tony Schwartz described is absolutely true in the latter part of my experience and we’ve seen this, of course, in the administration as well.”
Substitute host John Berman explained that it isn’t only that Trump burns through them, as Schwartz described it, Trump leaves them bloodied on the side of the train tracks. There’s no greater example than Michael Cohen, according to d’Antonio.
“There is a risk in all of this for the president,” he explained. “You can’t just humiliate people continuously and expect them to remain loyal, as someone like Cohen has been. The coverage of that case must be excruciating for him to watch. At some point, men and women do stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to take this anymore.'”
Watch the full conversation below:
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