WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tony Schwartz spends a lot of his time these days repenting.
Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s 1987 memoir The Art of the Deal, regrets writing a glowing biography that helped elevate Trump’s status as a savvy businessman. As he watched the rise of the GOP presidential candidate, he decided he had to do something.
So he decided he would donate the royalties he earns from the book straight to the marginalized groups that Trump has vilified during his presidential campaign — immigrants, people of color, and Muslims.
In keeping with that promise on Tuesday, Schwartz gave a $55,000 check to the immigrant advocacy group National Immigration Law Center (NILC).
“Those are the highest royalties that the book has earned since the very, very early period and I don’t intend to keep another dollar.”
“Those are the highest royalties that the book has earned since the very, very early period and I don’t intend to keep another dollar,” Schwartz announced at a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday, adding that he plans to make future donations as he continues to collect proceeds.
Schwartz said that made his decision to donate the royalties to groups like NILC because he wanted to demonstrate a commitment to end hatred of the people that Trump has scapegoated in the past.
“Frankly, it gives me great satisfaction to take money earned from The Art of the Deal and share it with organizations that help protect and support people whose rights Trump’s rhetoric and prospective policies seeks to abridge — people who believe in bridges, not in walls,” he said.
Trump has built his campaign on harsh policy promises to deport the undocumented immigrant population, to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country, to reinstate the discriminatory “stop-and-frisk” policy, and to suspect urban voters come Election Day.
Schwartz — who likely knows Trump better than the average voter — doesn’t think the GOP candidate will ever change his tone.
“His sympathies don’t lie with immigrants — even though his father was an immigrant,” Schwartz said. “He never gave me any inkling that he cared about anybody except for Donald Trump.”
Advocates representing groups vilified by Trump were also at the press conference to condemn the Republican presidential candidate’s harsh rhetoric, which has been correlated with an increase of hate crimes against Muslims, immigrants, and people of color over the past year.
“When Donald Trump says that he will deport undocumented immigrants en masse, that means that people like my own parents who migrated here from Ecuador would be deported,” Cristina Jimenez, co-founder and director of United We Dream Action, said.
She said that Trump’s endorsement by the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, an union made up of about 5,000 federal immigration officers and law enforcement support staff, could make undocumented immigrants feel like they’re likely to be rounded up and deported.
Moving forward, advocates say that they won’t stop trying to combat Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
Linda Sarsour, co-founder and director of the grassroots Muslim organization MPower Change, said she hopes minorities will be spurred to hit the polls in November to vote against Trump.
“We’re really focusing on organizing around this election like our lives depended on it with the potential that Donald Trump will be the next president of the Untied States,” Sarsour said. “We’ve been working with large coalitions with African American groups, Latino groups, helping those coalitions build local partnerships on a local level.”
“My plans are to be involved like this for the rest of my life and to use this platform that I’ve gotten to do as much as possible to bring attention to these issues,” Schwartz said.