Sunday, April 08, 2018
Chatting with his bff back in the day
For some reason I missed this interview with Trump from 2008 with his BFF Piers Morgan. It's interesting to see how he adjusted his talking points in the ensuring decade.This was particularly interesting I thought:
I am the greatest hawk who ever lived, a far greater hawk even than Bush. I am the most militant military human being who ever lived. I'd rebuild our military arsenal, and make sure we had the finest weapons in the world. Because countries such as Russia have no respect for us, they laugh at us. Look at what happened in Georgia, a place we were supposed to be protecting
What do you suppose happened between 2008 and 2016 that made him so lovey-dovey with Russia?
Does the way China behaved in the Olympics show how they might behave on the global stage?
All that stuff with them fielding 14-year-old girls and lying about their ages shows China is a country prepared to bend the rules, whereas America is so politically correct it is hard for us to compete. We are going against people who don't understand the meaning of political correctness. And at a time when we should be sending our best and brightest to take them on, we have Condoleezza Rice negotiating for us. A woman who has done nothing, made not one deal in eight years. She goes to countries, shakes hands with lots of people and comes home with nothing. It's incredible. We need our best people to deal with countries such as China, Russia and India as they get bigger and better. Instead we send average people.
Whether you like Clinton or don't like Clinton, we had no deficit for the first time in many years, and were doing well economically.
And then Bush came in, and wrecked it. After 11 September, America had the chance to be the most popular country in the world, instead, in a matter of weeks, that man destroyed it. We are no longer respected like we used to be, no longer the place where people want to invest to the extent they did before. We have been seriously hurt by Bush and his cronies. I think he will go down as the worst president in history.
You've been very outspoken about the Iraq war.
Right. The main problem I have is that Iraq did not blow up the World Trade Center. The terrorists who did it came out of Saudi Arabia, and other places, but not Iraq.
How many Americans really understand that Saddam Hussein didn't do it, do you think?
The interesting thing about Saddam is he hated terrorists, he killed terrorists. He knew they represented a liability to his country and to him. But now Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists, it's where they are trained. It's inconceivable what Bush has done. He invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, absolutely zero. He purposely lied, and his lies got us into a war. But he wasn't impeached. Clinton was impeached for something that wasn't one millionth as important.
Having a fling with an intern versus launching an illegal war - not a difficult choice to make as to comparative significance, is it?
Incredible, truly. We've lost 4,000 young servicemen and women, and at least a million Iraqis were killed, and for what? Bush should be impeached, but the Democrats have let him get away with it. It makes me so angry.
Do you know Bush?
I've met him once or twice, but I don't want to know him.
Same with his cronies. One of my people rang me the other day to say Donald Rumsfeld was in Trump Tower in New York, and asked if I wanted to meet him. I said, "absolutely not". What he and Bush did to this country is unforgivable.
This interview is going to be published a few days before the presidential election. What is your view of Barack Obama?
I think he would have had a much easier chance of winning if he had chosen Hillary Clinton as his running mate, definitely. But obviously he doesn't like her, and I don't believe the Clintons like him.
What about John McCain?
I know John well, and I like him. We had dinner together recently.
Who would you vote for, then?
McCain, because his tax policies are better. But I wish he would promise to get us out of Iraq faster. I am not in love with that aspect of what he represents. What irks me most about Iraq is that there is $100bn of oil money sitting in their banks and we don't get anything out of it. That country is now worse off than it ever was under Saddam.
Are you a natural Republican person?
No, I am a natural good-person person. Look, nobody has been stronger against Bush than me. And Bush doesn't have the intellect to be president. When he said he reads 60 books a year... give me a break. Of course he doesn't. And then he said he never watches TV, which I don't believe either. Everyone does. Nothing he says is the truth.
Is America ready to vote for a black president?
Nobody knows. That is what makes it so fascinating. I have a great relationship with blacks. Russell Simmons [a leading black American entrepreneur] told me I was the most popular white man in America!
I like blacks and they like me. But in numerous elections where a black candidate has been leading substantially, they either didn't win or it was a much closer "squeaker" than predicted. Race is a huge factor.
If you were president, how would you quick-fix the country?
First, I'd get out of Iraq right now. And by the way, I am the greatest hawk who ever lived, a far greater hawk even than Bush. I am the most militant military human being who ever lived. I'd rebuild our military arsenal, and make sure we had the finest weapons in the world. Because countries such as Russia have no respect for us, they laugh at us. Look at what happened in Georgia, a place we were supposed to be protecting.
Vladimir Putin is now perceived to be stronger than Bush.
That's because when they started out together, Putin played Bush like a fiddle. Bush went around saying what a nice guy he was, and thought he was his friend. And since then, Russia has gone up like a rocket and this country has gone down like a not so successful rocket. It's booming, and we're the opposite.
How are you dealing with all the big money Russian competition?
It's great for me, because I have the stuff they want to buy. I bought a house for $40m in Palm Beach and just sold it to a Russian for $100m. They're smart, cunning business people. They know great assets when they see them. And they know exactly what they're doing when they hand me a big fat cheque. Russia's been unleashed. Everyone was worried about China and India, but it's Russia that is flying and that is down to Putin.
What advice would you give to people suffering in the current global economic credit crunch?
Look, the last time this happened in the early Nineties, I owed billions and billions of dollars, and nearly went under. Many of my friends went under. It was a very tough time. But I reacted positively. I went forward quite bravely, I'd say, given that so many people were going out of business. My theme was "survive till '95" and that turned out to be about right, because those who survived until then were OK.
What did you learn from that?
A lot. No.1: I could handle pressure. A lot of my friends couldn't and just took the gas. I knew tough guys, or people who I thought were tough but who crawled into a corner, put their thumbs in their mouths and cried, "Mummy, I want to go home." I didn't lose sleep, I never, ever gave up, and I fought hard to survive. The biggest thing I learnt is that economic cycles don't last forever, they go up and they go down. And whatever you try to do to keep a cycle going, they end. Period. If you study the financial charts from 1900 to now, it's almost a perfect roller-coaster graph, it's amazing.
I studied your book Think Big And Kick Ass! carefully before doing The Celebrity Apprentice...
Ah... did you? That's probably why you won.
Yes, probably. But you have often renamed it in interviews as "Think Big, Be Paranoid".
Yes, that's right. Paranoia means, to me, as the boxers would say, "Keep your left up." Never let your guard down. A lot of people rely on people, trust people who betray them and take advantage of them.
How do you avoid that happening to you?
By hiring good people, and then watching them.
Do you actually fully trust anybody who works for you?
Very few, I don't want to trust people.
Is there anyone?
Look, we are worse than the lions in the jungle. Worse than any predator. Lions hunt for food, to live. We hunt for sport. Our hunting involves doing lots of bad things to other people, whether it's stealing their money or whatever. People are bad, they really are! They're evil in many cases! So you have to keep your left up.
People have to respect you, if they don't respect you then, even if they are fairly honest, they will start to steal from you. That's the way it is. Pretty sad, but true.
Do you think you're ruthless?
No, I think I'm intelligent. I went to the Wharton School of Finance, which is the best. I had great marks, which a lot of people don't know about me. I come from smart genes.
And your father always lavished you with unstinting praise?
My father was incredible. He was an untrusting guy too, though.
Except when it came to me. He totally trusted me. And you know why?
Because I did something, and it worked. I did another thing, it worked. After you do 20 things in a row that work, your father starts to trust you, right..
Do you have the same trust in your kids?
I can't tell you yet, because they're too young. I think they have the potential to be very successful and very talented. I have three of my five children working for me now, and they are very smart.
They were all great students. So far, great.
Having watched you interact with Ivanka, 27, and Donald Jr, 30, on The Apprentice, I could tell there's a lot of of respect and love on both sides. But how important is their success to you? Could you love and respect them as much if they turn out to be business failures?
If I didn't think they were good, I wouldn't want them in the business. It's tough and ruthless in the real estate game, and if I didn't think they were up to it then I would let them go. It just wouldn't work at all.
You've never touched alcohol?
Not one drop?
That amazes me. Why not?
Because I had a brother who died of alcoholism. He was called Fred, and he was a very handsome guy; had the best personality. But he got into drinking at college and became an alcoholic, and I watched him disintegrate with alcohol. And he did something to me.
He was 11 years older, and he told me never to drink or smoke.
Drugs weren't really in vogue then or he would have added "don't take drugs either". He'd smoke three packs of cigarettes a day. And he hated smoking and drinking, but he couldn't stop it. He knew he had a problem, and didn't want me having it. It's a sad thing about alcoholism. I know a lot of alcoholics, and you know they never really stop. They talk about stopping, they talk about going to the Betty Ford clinic, they go back and back and back. But they never stop. It's a terrible drug. I've heard it's harder to stop drinking alcohol than stop taking drugs.
You don't even drink coffee either, is that right?
Yeah, but I love women...
We're coming to that!
We all like something! [Laughs]
Are you not curious?
No, I've seen it destroy people. I was with someone the other day who was a very respected banker. We had to carry him out of the dinner because he was so drunk. And you lose respect for people when that happens. He is a smart, tough guy but he can't stop drinking. I've seen too many people like that, men and women. The reason they can stop drugs easier than alcohol is that drugs are a no-no. You can't go out to bars and openly shoot heroin into your arm. But you can drink anywhere. Society encourages it. I preach to people in speeches not to start drinking. One friend of mine when we were very young at the Wharton School of Finance said to me, "I hate the taste of Scotch but I'm trying to get used to it." Can you believe that? But he's a major alcoholic now and he drinks so much Scotch it's incredible. And this is a guy who didn't like the taste! I mean, try something else - try milk.
Are you a woman-holic?
[Laughs] Well, I love women, that's for sure. But I have a great wife, Melania, who is a spectacular mother. And we have a great relationship. But I do love women, definitely. I respect them, I think they're magnificent. And I don't just mean their physical beauty.
I have noticed that women behave in a weird, very adoring way, around you - do you think it's because they know you love them so much?
I don't know. But I do know this, I get all these things written about me, and they say what a great financial genius I am, and then they always have to add "but we hate his hairpiece". Now, I don't wear a hairpiece. It's mine, you know that.
I do know that. I've studied it at very close quarters and I can see it's definitely your hair. But people do seem to be obsessed with it. When I won The Apprentice, all people back home in Britain wanted to know was, "What's his hair like?"
I know. And it means I can't even send these otherwise great articles around, because there's always this stuff about a hairpiece I don't have! But I've never had a problem with it.
Your wives have got progressively more beautiful...
Melania is a great beauty, that's for sure. Ivana and Marla were both great beauties too.
I saw Ivana and her new husband recently at the Monaco Red Cross Ball, and he is, to put it mildly, not quite what she had before...
Well I hope it works out, I really do.
I don't think I'd put much money on it.
Well, I hope it does. I let them use my Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach for their wedding, and she is a good woman and he's a nice guy. I don't think he's a bad person, and remember it's not easy for her, it's a different life for her these days. She had a great life with me.
He looked very scruffy to me, chewing gum and stuff.
Really? I don't want to comment
Are you a good husband?
I think I'm a great father.
That wasn't the question.
[Laughs] I answered a much easier question! I think I'm a good husband now. It's not easy for someone competing with my business.
What have you loved more - your business or your wives?
I remember seeing John Paul Getty interviewed on TV years ago. They asked him a version of that question. They asked him if he had his time again whether he would rather be John Paul Getty the great financial genius, or would he rather have a great marriage. And he said he'd rather be John Paul Getty because many people have great marriages, but there is only one John Paul Getty.
Do you agree with that?
I do agree with that, but maybe you can have both.
What has brought you more happiness, women or money?
I know a lot of rich people who can't get a date. I read an article not so long ago that said women aren't just attracted to money, there has to be an attraction to the man as well. And I think that's true. I know rich, smart, cunning guys who just can't get a woman to go out with them.
Because they're missing something. I'll tell you a great story. A rich friend of mine calls me recently because he knows I know a lot of great-looking women because I own Miss Universe and run a hot model agency. And he knows I have a good understanding with women.
So he says he wants to go out with the particular woman, who I know very well. And this guy's got his beautiful houses, his cars - he's got everything money can buy. So I call this woman, and she's a top model, and she has no interest in going out with him. So I said, "Look, do me a favour, this guy's breaking my ass, is it such a big favour to ask you to go out with him once?" And eventually she agrees to go on one date. And they go out, and she calls me afterwards and says, "Do me a favour now, never make me do that again. Just don't waste my time with guys like this." This is a guy who eats financial geniuses for a living, he beats up guys with his head. And he's got so much money he doesn't know what to do with it. But in front of a beautiful woman he gets lockjaw. Anyway, he calls me the next day and says, "Donald, that was the greatest woman I ever had dinner with. Would you call her and ask if she will go out with me again." Think about that. I can understand why I have to do it for the first date, but if I have to do it for the second one too then there's something wrong, right? And I know a lot of very rich guys who can't go out with a girl twice because they're so boring.
If I said to you now that you can have a cheque for $10bn, but the proviso is you can't have sex for five years, would you take it?
No, I wouldn't. Because ten million dollars isn't a lot of money to me.
Oh, ten billion. I might think about taking that!
And you could go five years without sex?
For ten billion dollars, sure. You can do a lot of things with ten billion dollars. You double up my net worth just by not having sex, sure. That's pretty good. I could do that.
So you're worth ten billion dollars already?
I think I'm worth around that neighbourhood, yeah.
That makes you one of the richest men in the world.
I live nicely, definitely. [Smiles]
What is the secret to being good in bed?
I think there are a lot of secrets. A lot of it is down to the Look. Don King, the boxing promoter, is a friend of mine, and he is a believer in the Look. He doesn't mean you have to look like Cary Grant, he means you have to have a certain way about you, a stature. I see successful guys who just don't have the Look. And they are never going to go out with great women. The Look is important. I don't really like to talk about it because it sounds very conceited... but it matters.
I think part of your success with women is that although you appear to be very arrogant, you actually have a very natural charm as well.
I understand how life works, it's very fragile. I was lucky, born with good things. But I've seen people go up and down, and get sick and so on. I know the game, I have a good sense of the street. The people who like me most are not necessarily rich people, in fact many of them don't like me.
Because they're jealous?
Because whatever. Lots of rich people hate me. I'll tell you the names later... but the people who like me are the workers. They're the ones I get along with best. They love me and I love them.
That's because they see you as a champion of the underdog and of the American dream. I've often heard you talk up the working-class people in your country.
Every time I see one of my workers, I give them a hundred bucks, and people are amazed by that, but some of them have worked for me for a long time, they do a fantastic job for me. And I love giving them a hundred bucks to take their wives out for dinner or something, and it's a big thing for them, beyond the money it's a big thing for them. So I have a very good relationship with the workers.
You're the perfect person to ask this question: can money buy happiness or not?
I couldn't live without money, not because I need the money so much, because I don't need to live in lots of great places. I couldn't live without it because it's a game. I wouldn't be the same person without money.
Do you live for the money itself, or for the deal?
Both. Money is the scorecard. If I didn't have money then it would mean that I am not very good at what I do. Does that make sense?
You're motivated by success.
I am, I like success. And I like being successful. I am very competitive. I like winning when I study, when I play sport, when I'm in business. I like to win.
You said once that golf is a great judge of a businessman's character.
I did yes. I love golf. I'm a three handicapper now. I was off scratch, but time erodes that. Over my lifetime, I've played a lot of very good golf, people are surprised by that.
Do you think if a man cheats at golf, he'll cheat in business?
Yes. I've seen it many times. They move the ball an inch and hope nobody sees them, but I always see them. Then I don't trust them. If you cheat in golf you do it in business.
Have you played with Bill Clinton, because he's supposed to be a notorious golf cheat isn't he?
He's a member of my club actually, and he's a much better golfer than people understand. He doesn't cheat. What he does, because he doesn't get to play very often, is he'll hit a ball off the tee, and if he doesn't hit it well then he'll play another one, in full sight of everyone. That's not the same as secretly moving a ball.
Does he play three when he does that though, or two?
I don't know. I don't check his card. But he's open about it, so I don't have a problem with it. It's the ones who do it secretly who I have a problem with.
I love Clinton. I watched him make an incredible speech at the Labour party conference once. He was amazing.
Bill's one strong guy. And he will go down as a great president. I have a lot of respect for him.
Who do you genuinely respect in business?
I think Jeff Immelt at General Electric is doing a fantastic job following a legend in Jack Welch. And Terry Lundgren, who runs Macy's, is doing a great job in a tough business. There are a lot of good people out there. But we don't use them properly.
It's people like those guys who we should use to negotiate with countries like China, Russia and India. Instead we use diplomats and politicians. And that's a shame.
Sir Alan Sugar's version of The Apprentice is about to show in America. What do you think of that?
I'm happy, I helped choose Alan to do The Apprentice, because I co-own the format to the show. And I think he's done a very good job. What do you think of him?
I like him a lot. He's abrasive, but underneath it a great guy.
How successful is he? Very, or just modestly?
Right. Anyway, I'm really happy with him because it's my show.
If his version gets great ratings in America, how will you feel?
They asked me that question about Martha Stewart, who did a copy of my show and it failed badly. People said, "Would you rather she failed, or had been successful?" And I found that a very... [laughs]... a very tough question! But no, I'd like to see Alan succeed here because I'd rather my show was successful generally.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who gave good quality. I always try to provide the highest quality, and as a result I get prices for my properties nobody else can get.
How much of that is your name?
A lot of it is my name and a lot of it is my quality. I get the right locations, the right architecture and so on. But people tend to follow me and my name. I was very well-known before I did The Apprentice, to put it mildly, and the TV stuff is a very small part of my life. What I do is real estate. And I am very successful at it.
So what would your tombstone say?
I put a lot of people into work, I have done a lot of really good jobs, and I really believe that in terms of the word "quality" there is nobody who tops me.
Good father, sometimes good husband [laughs], a loyal friend. I'm a loyal guy; I'll give you an example. Choosing you as my Celebrity Apprentice was tough. You're a smart, tough guy, but you're abrasive too and everyone loved Trace Adkins [my 6'7" country-singing Mr Nice Guy opponent in the final], and the easiest thing to do would have been to let him win. I had so many people telling me to do that. But I did what was right, you deserved to win. And you had some pretty high-powered friends telling me I should choose you, too! I was surprised by that. I did the right thing because I chose a winner.
Why, thank you Mr Trump. I liked the way you described me in the final as "ruthless, arrogant, evil and obnoxious", but then chose me as your apprentice anyway.
I also said you were talented! But a funny thing happened, from the day after the finale, everyone started saying, "Hey, you did the right thing choosing Piers."
He's certainly much more brittle now, more edgy, more stressed out. He was always a 100% full of shit, used car salesman, cheapskate con man. But it's interesting to see how he's played the room at different times in his life.
That's because America loves winners, period. And you, more than possibly anyone else in the country, personify the word "winner".
You've gotta win. That's what it's all about. You know,
Muhammad Ali used to talk and talk, but he won. If you talk and talk but you lose, the act doesn't play. I gotta go.
digby 4/08/2018 02:30:00 PM