Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Looking Back At Trump

Donald Trump (left) with his brother Fred Jr., sisters Elizabeth and Maryanne, and brother Robert.
by Liz Smith

Looking Back At Trump — The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same?

"THE fame, the power, the wealth ... the hair. Donald Trump is a legend in his own time, a larger-than-life figure who isn't afraid to toot his own horn."

So I wrote for Good Housekeeping magazine back in October of 2004. At this time, Donald was about to marry former model Melania Knauss. And, though a few before years before I wrote this Donald was going around saying that he would buy the tabloid New York Daily News in order to fire me.

In fact, when he was leaving Ivana, he was saying that he was buying the New York Daily News only so he could fire me. But that's Mr. Trump. You're in one day; you're out the other. I was struck reading this "history" by how little has changed. In this 12-year-old article I was asking why he had been the one to achieve so much fame?

DT: "Probably because I am very good looking."

In our lunch discussion at Le Cirque Donald remarked, "I've had some of the greatest weddings in history. And in the end, it doesn't matter; as far as the relationship is concerned. You still have to go home." Donald then made a joke saying of his wedding to the in between Mrs. Trump, Marla Maples, that people said, 'There wasn't a wet eye in the house.' "I'll never forget it I found it very funny."
Donald and Marla.
LS: But what about all of these stories we hear about your casinos failing?

DT: "The problem with me is that the casino company — of which I only own 40 percent — is a very small part of my net worth, probably less than 2 percent. And yet when financial writers ... go after me, that's the one thing they seem to be focusing on. They want to see me fail. I think the rich people don't like me much. I wasn't doing great in the early nineties because I owed billions and billions of dollars, and the real estate markets had just collapsed. But I worked very hard, and fortunately I never went bankrupt."
"I learned from my father that every penny counts, because before too long your pennies turn into dollars."
LS: Are you as high headed as people think you are? — Supremely egotistical?

DT: "No, I think that people feel I'm more confident than I actually am. I'm not nearly as confident as people think. I shouldn't tell you that, but that's the way it is."

LS: But in the end, your divorce from Ivana was primarily a battle for money ...

DT: "She sued me for everything she sued me for as much as I've been sued for in my life, which is plenty. And she lost, which a lot of people don't know ... the prenuptial agreement totally held up. But Ivana did fine. Marla Maples sued me too ... and the beautiful thing about Melania is that she agreed with it [the need for a pre-up] ... at this moment Melania is only interested in what's good for me."
"Ivana did fine."
"Melania is only interested in what's good for me."
LS: is there anything out there that you wish you had?

DT: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. My father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was he had a great marriage — 64 years.

"One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing: because my parents didn't work at marriage.' If you have to work at a marriage, it's not going to work it has to be sort of a natural thing.

"I say to myself, 'Man, I work all day long, well into the evening. I don't want to come home and work on a marriage.' A marriage has to be very easy. One of the things I love about Melania is that she makes my life easier."
Proud parents.
I will close this with one thought. Donald Trump always hates you or loves you according to his encounter with you, and if, in his eyes, you are being "fair" to him. (That generally means agreeing with him, completely.)

After the Ivana mess, he hated me. Then he wrote me a letter "I think I'm beginning to love you again." At his lunch interview in 2004 he was all smiles and sweetness. However, the first time I again dared say a critical word about him he made an announcement that I "was so far up his ass" that I disappeared.

I guess I have been one of the many people who have "disappeared." There are millions of us.
Donald, laser-focused in 2004.

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.