Donald Trump Had Virtually Nothing To Do With His Children Until They Were Adults, Former Ghostwriter Says

Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka at a White House event.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Tony Schwartz, who penned the best-selling book The Art of the Deal for Trump and now refers to it as a piece of fiction, sounded off on the president on Thursday during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit‘s Politics subreddit. During the discussion, Schwartz was asked if he thought that Trump had a relationship with his children when Schwartz worked with him in the mid-1980s.

Schwartz said that Trump didn’t have much involvement with his kids, though he did seem closest to daughter Ivanka.

“He had virtually nothing to do with his children until they were adults. He plainly favors Ivanka,” Schwartz answered.

After helping to craft one of the most important pieces of the narrative of Donald Trump as a shrewd negotiator and unmatched dealmaker, Tony Schwartz has turned into one of Trump’s biggest critics. He has frequently spoken out about Trump, sharing anecdotes from their time together painting the president as clueless and obsessive.

Schwartz has frequently spoken out about Trump’s family and the influence they have had on his life. In an interview with the PBS news program Frontline back in 2016, the writer claimed that the president painted a false narrative of himself as the “toughest kid in class” growing up when in reality he lived in an upper-class neighborhood in Jamaica, Queens.

Trump’s bluster wasn’t received well by his parents, who decided to send him away, Schwartz said.

“I think it meant a great deal to him from early on to be seen as the tough guy and to challenge people and to be kind of untamable,” Schwartz said. “At a certain point, I think his father decided, ‘We’ve got to get this kid under control,’ and off he went to military school.”

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Schwartz noted that Trump was able to thrive in military school, using “some blend of street smarts and his self-confidence or his arrogance” to run the show at the school.

Tony Schwartz is not the only person to accuse Donald Trump of being something of an absentee father. Those claims were repeated by Michael Wolfe in his blockbuster tell-all about the Trump administration, titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. In the book, Wolfe wrote that Trump was an absentee father to his first four kids and even more so to his youngest son, Barron.