'Art of the Deal' ghostwriter: Trump ‘frightened by black people’

Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter behind President Trump's bestselling 1987 book "The Art of the Deal", says the president's recent attacks of LaVar Ball stem from Trump being "half awed and half frightened by black people."

Trump and Ball have gone back and forth through the media since Ball's son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other UCLA players were released from China after being detained for shoplifting earlier this month.

Asked Wednesday by CNN’s John Berman whether Trump’s attack was down to “what LaVar Ball said or, as some are alleging, how he looks,” Schwartz responded: "Both."

“So first of all, his father [LaVar Ball] is a tall black man and I think Trump is half awed and half frightened by black people and his only way of dealing with them is to attack them.”

“On the other hand, I think he has a zero tolerance for any criticism of any kind, that’s why he goes after anybody who says virtually anything about him that’s negative,” he added.

Michael D’Antonio, the biographer who wrote "The Truth About Trump," agreed. 

“I think what Tony said was correct, that there are these dual motivations on his part,” he said. “On the one hand it is racial, on the other hand he has very thin skin.”

Ball’s son and two other players were arrested and accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in China during his team’s weeklong trip to the country.

The players faced potential jail sentences for the charge, but Trump, who was also visiting China at the time, spoke to President Xi Jinping about resolving the situation. The players were released and returned to the United States last week.

Upon their return, the players held a press conference during which they thanked the president for his role in helping them return home, which he had asked them to do on Twitter.