Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Anthony Horowitz

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Anthony Horowitz

Article excerpt

New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Raleigh, Dallas... I'm on a book tour in Donald Trump's USA, which feels much like the USA I've visited many times before. The tour doesn't go to any of the so-called 'rust belt' cities where Trump has his main support and the people I meet are quietly shocked, apologetic -- as if their President is an elderly relative who has displayed horrible manners at the table. Washington is such a handsome, classical city, with its free museums and wonderful collections of art, that I feel a stab of pain as I drive past the White House and think about the man inside. A single protestor stands silently, at attention, outside the Lincoln memorial with a placard that concludes: 'It's time to end this national disgrace.' My first thought is that he must be mad to be there all day. My second is that he's completely sane. Almost everyone who passes mutters words of encouragement.

I have a little time to pop into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and look at all the presidents on the second floor. It's strange and again disconcerting to think that Trump will one day sit among them. Who will paint him and in what style? Surrealism springs to mind. In fact, I'm tempted to say that every president gets the portrait he deserves. Bill Clinton gets a brash, lurid representation by Chuck Close. Jimmy Carter looks hesitant, lost in his surroundings. But my theory comes crashing down to the ground when I see a tremendously flattering, respectful portrait by Norman Rockwell painted in 1968. The subject is Richard Nixon.

I once met Harvey Weinstein. Dread words! But he's the other national disgrace that's following me on tour as I'm here promoting Alex Rider. As it happens he was the producer of Stormbreaker, back in 2006. He's also the main reason why there have been no more Alex Rider movies since. I still have nightmares about my breakfast with Harvey at the Mandarin Oriental in London, of being magnetised by him in all the wrong ways. An astonishingly ugly man, he arrived in a tight-fitting grey polo shirt with a lit cigarette poking out of his mouth (it was legal to smoke indoors then, though odd so early in the morning). As he sat down, a length of ash fell and landed on his man-boobs where it remained for the entire meeting. I was hypnotised. I couldn't concentrate on a word he was saying. All I wanted to do was to flick it off. My finger is twitching even now.

So much has been written about his assaults on women and of course my own experiences have no comparison, but I hope one day that the argument will move on to his business practices, which were, to say the least, destructive. …

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