Trump's former ghostwriter Tony Schwartz says Trump discards staff like 'Kleenex filled with snot'

Grace Panetta
FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to address the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) week conference in Washington, U.S., September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reuters


  • This week, yet another senior White House adviser, National Security Adviser John Bolton, had a dramatic departure from President Donald Trump's administration.
  • Bolton's abrupt firing came after reports that Trump and Bolton, a long-time defense hawk, disagreed over Trump's controversial plan to host the Taliban for negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan at Camp David.
  • Author Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote Trump's 1987 bestselling book "The Art of the Deal" told the Washington Post "when you use people like Kleenex, eventually the Kleenex is filled with snot, and you throw it out ... that's the way Trump treats everyone."
  • Current and former administration officials told The Post that Trump's bombastic and sometimes unpredictable management style makes it hard for any staffer for stay in his orbit for long. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

This week, yet another senior White House adviser, National Security Adviser John Bolton, had a dramatic departure from President Donald Trump's administration.

The Trump White House and Trump's cabinet have seen record-high turnover. Six cabinet-level positions are currently held by acting secretaries and just seven of the 30 senior White House staffers originally sworn in at the beginning at the administration now remain in the West Wing. 

Author Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote Trump's 1987 bestselling book "The Art of the Deal" and has since become one of his most vocal detractors, said in an interview with the Washington Post that "when you use people like Kleenex, eventually the Kleenex is filled with snot, and you throw it out ... that's the way Trump treats everyone."

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump announced that he informed Bolton, who served as Trump's National Security Advisor since May of 2018, "that his services are no longer needed at the White House," adding, "I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration."

Bolton's abrupt firing came after reports that Trump and Bolton, a long-time defense hawk, disagreed over a controversial plan to host the Taliban for negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan at Camp David.

The New York Times reported that Bolton was "one of the leading voices" arguing against the plan — which Trump revealed he had scrapped last-minute in a series of Saturday tweets.

Bolton didn't go out without a fight. He insisted to Twitter and multiple news reporters that he had not, in fact, been fired, but had voluntarily resigned and tried to leave on his own terms. 

In turn, Trump continued to double-down on his criticisms of Bolton, arguing during remarks in the Oval Office that he had to fire him because Kim Jong-un — the brutal dictator leader of North Korea — did not respect him. 

Current and former administration officials told The Post that Trump's bombastic and sometimes unpredictable management style makes it hard for any staffer for stay in his direct orbit for long. 

Read more: John Bolton's abrupt firing shows how chaotic Trump's White House is

"The president doesn't like people to get good press. He doesn't like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times," a former official, speaking anonymously, told The Post. 

Trump, who made his mark as a cutthroat real-estate developer and reality TV show host, seems to take delight in deliberately pitting his own staffers against each other, The Post reported, adding that "only if he can play emperor, presiding over the melee and crowning the victor."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who has become one of Trump's top allies and right-hand men in the cabinet — has benefited the most from Bolton's ouster, barely containing his glee over the departure in a Tuesday press conference. 

Not only has Pompeo definitively replaced Bolton as Trump's top foreign policy advisor, but he could also take Bolton's job. 

CNN reported on Wednesday that Pompeo could "absorb" the position of National Security Adviser into his current role and fulfill both jobs at once, a feat only one previous Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, has pulled off. 

NOW WATCH: A year after Armenia's 250,000-person revolution, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan explains what comes next for the country