Tony Schwartz appeared on AM Joy to speak in stark terms about what we're facing should we allow Trump's power to go further unchecked. Joy Reid asked him about his impressions of Trump from writing "The Art of the Deal," and how that informs his conclusions regarding Trump's behavior as president.
Completely consistent with everything Schwartz learned from his experience, and what he sees and hears now coming out of this administration, his assessment is dire. Trump's behavior is deranged, sociopathic in the extreme, and cruel in a way that feeds his affinity with the dictators he so admires.
SCHWARTZ: If Trump had the power that Kim Jong-un does, the kind of authoritarian power, and the lack of consequence if he, quote, breaks the law -- I believe, and this is going to be very extreme. I believe that Trump would be murdering as many enemies as Kim Jong-un does.
Schwartz warned his assessment is extreme, but is it, though? The thought of that happening here is extreme. The behavior of the president is extreme. But the conclusion is not extreme. It is alarmingly logical, given all we know about history in general, and the history of this individual's behavior. It was absolutely chilling, and coming from someone with whom this monster trusted with his memoir, carries credibility.
SCHWARTZ: I have just been thinking, Joy, the past couple of weeks -- well, I should say the past week since the summit with Kim Jong-un and then his comment about he'd like his people to s salute the way Kim Jong-un's do. If Trump had the power that Kim Jong-un does, the kind of authoritarian power, and the lack of consequence if he, quote, breaks the law -- I believe, and this is going to be very extreme.
I believe that Trump would be murdering as many enemies as Kim Jong-un does. That his lack of conscience and his sociopathy is so extreme and inner sense of emptiness, so what he has now is a blend of paranoia, which I said in the tweet, paranoia, grandiosity, and cruelty. The cruelty just take the immigrants, who are being -- kids who are being separated from the parents, the cruelty is a way of punishing the people who he perceives as his enemies. So, that blend of qualities make me believe that Trump has cast his lot now. I don't know for sure that he would have with less power and less stress, but he's cast his lot with authoritarians and dictators and they behave in very, very predictable ways.
REID: Let's play one more. This is Brett Baier interviewing Donald Trump on Wednesday about Kim Jong-un ,and his sort of admiring comments about him.
TRUMP: He's the head of a country, and I mean he's the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
REID: There was another one where he said he's a tough guy. "When you take over a country, tough people and you take it over from your father, I don't care who you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you can do that at 27 years old, that's one in 10,000. He's a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator." Reminded he's done bad things, he says, "Yeah, but so have a lot of others."
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, only a person with no conscience can say that. I mean, flat out. Full Stop. That is deranged. This is a man who's murdered thousands and thousands of people. That's not a common practice.
REID: When you sat with Trump, did you ever hear him express any sort of empathy? He obviously has a lot of resentments. He REALLY resents President Obama, I mean, my goodness, he is obsessed with that resentment, but did you ever hear them express softness or gentleness or empathy when you were talking with him?
SCHWARTZ: No. He doesn't have empathy. He -- you know, I've been talking about this for a long time now, and I feel like it's extreme to keep repeating it, but also, what we need to hear. He lacks a soul and he lacks a heart. This is what happens to a person who grows up with a sense of deep inner emptiness, whose sense of self is always at risk, and who is fundamentally a black hole and all the stuff that comes in that makes that him feel good about himself from outside then seeps out very quickly and he needs to quickly put it back. So, he isn't in the business of empathy. He's in the business of Trump.
REID: Scary. ...