Following his descent into birtherism Donald Trump has latched onto another rightwing meme--that Barack Obama’s memoir Dreams from My Father was written by 1960s radical lefty activist Bill Ayers. (Ayers joked that he wrote the book last week, but sarcasm doesn't always translate on the Internet.) "They say Dreams of My Father was genius and they give him full credit, and now it's coming out that Bill Ayers wrote it ... that's what started him on this road where he became president," Trump told Laura Ingraham Wednesday, the Daily Caller's Daniel Keylin reports. Trump contrasted the writing style of 1995’s Dreams with Obama's 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, which Trump said "was written by a guy that's like a sophomore in high school."
Trump knows a thing or too about writing: he's a best-selling author of dozens of books. He knows a bit about having a ghostwriter, too, having had one for all his books. Let's take a tour through the prose stylings of Donald Trump for some lessons on how to write like a smart grownup person, not a gifted sophomore.
In 2009's Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life, Trump notes a 2007 essay by Stephen King on the decline of the short story as authors tailor their work to the tastes of editors instead of readers. Trump likes this essay a lot:
I like essays and so I can relate to the short story, although the short story is a fictional prose tale. The short story is not an easy medium, as any writer will tell you, because you must be concise. Eassays are a bit the same, because they are succinct and specific. ... I may not be Stephen King, but I can appreciate what he does. You may not be a mogul yet, but I think you can appreciate the complexities of what I have to deal with daily. ...
I think that he does a spot-on analysis of the situation when he notices that the stories seem to be written for publication purposes, not for the edification of the reader. I know that if I did something that was intended to impress the so-called critics that I would be selling not only myself short, but other people as well. That’s one reason I’m liked as well as disliked. ... Being true to yourself and your work is an asset. Remember that assets are worth protecting. No one will ever tell you it will be easy to stick to your own convictions, but I believe it is necessary.
He goes on to muse that writers now keep in mind their target demographic--editors--when writing their short story, which King says is a bad thing. Trump agrees, then says that that's a lot like he does when he's going to build something--check out the demo of the people who'll live there, and their advertisers. This is a good thing.
What are Trump's convictions to which he's supposedly sticking? Perhaps that Obama is a bad president--presumably the main reason why Trump would run for the 2012 Republican nomination. Surely, Trump saw this from Inauguration Day. Actually, maybe not:
...Barack will need to be a great president because we’re in serious trouble as a country. It hasn’t been this way since 1929. So he doesn’t have much choice--he will simply have to be great, which he has a very good chance of being.
What he has done is amazing. The fact that he accomplished what he has--in one year and against great odds--is truly phenomenal. ... Barack Obama proved that determination combined with opportunity and intelligence can make things happen--and in an exceptional way.
As for memoirs, Trump's done that too. Witness this bracing passage from Trump: The Art of the Deal penned in 1987:
I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.
Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can’t be imaginative or entreprenuerial if you’ve got too much structure, I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops.
What a cool guy. Trump explains that his "very early" alarm clock gets him up at 6 a.m., and he rolls into the office at 9 o'clock. Then he has meetings (but without that cumbersome briefcase!). That's how this savvy businessman has built his empire, which, by the way, has been forced to declare bankruptcy three times--most recently in February 2009, when Trump Entertainment filed for Chapter 11. And that brings us to the other thing Trump is an expert on: scams.
On MSNBC Thursday, Trump committed to being a full-on birther, which he was only hinting at a week ago. "I am embracing the issue, and I'm proud of the issue," Trump said. And he will keep looking for Obama's birth certificate, he said, because, "If it were true, it'd be the greatest scam in the history of this country." It takes one to know one, right?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.