Donald Trump once used the death of a child to reflect on a mother’s looks, had contempt for Arsenio Hall’s stalled TV career and still remembers the very first time he saw his name in a newspaper.
These and other revelations were unearthed in a series of taped interviews Trump did with biographer Michael D’Antonio in 2014 (and one poorly timed condolence note from 2009 that was discovered by Mother Jones).
The reality TV star turned presidential candidate was cooperating with D’Antonio for a biography that was published in September 2015 as Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success and retitled The Truth About Trump when it was released in paperback in May 2016.
D’Antonio, who opposes Trump’s presidential run, first gave the taped interviews to the Clinton campaign. But when her aides did not seem to make use of them, D’Antonio shared them with The New York Times.
Here are some of the key revelations from those tapes:
• Arsenio Hall was “dead as a doornail” and “dead as dog meat” to Trump after his career faltered. The Times reports Trump added with disgust, “[He] couldn’t get on television. They wouldn’t even take his phone call.”
• Trump resists looking inward: “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see.”
• The first time he was ever in a newspaper was sophomore year in high school for helping clinch a baseball victory for his school. He was instantly hooked on the notoriety, saying it was “amazing,” “it felt good” and he “loved it.”
• His fantasy dreams (“for a long time,” Trump added) involve walking into a giant room and having everyone gravitate to him like he was a magnet. While some might find the attention unnerving, Trump said, “I think what would unnerve me is if it didn’t happen.”
• He doesn’t respect many (maybe any) people: “You can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”
• He erroneously claimed that he and Hillary Clinton were the only people to be featured twice on Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People end-of-year ABC special. (Clinton has actually been on the list three times, and the number of people who have made it on the list twice is over 15, including Tom Hanks, Lance Armstrong, Oksana Baiul and Miley Cyrus. After the recordings, Trump made the list a third time in 2015.)
In addition to the Times’ findings, Mother Jones on Tuesday resurfaced a blog post Trump once wrote about actress Kelly Preston in 2009 after the death of her son Jett, which was shared on his now-discontinued Trump University blog. (Mother Jones used the Internet way-back machine to find a cached copy).
In the note, Trump uses the death of Preston and husband John Travolta’s teenage son to recall how he tried (and failed) to pick her up and how he respected her more for marrying Travolta, and offers brief words of consolation for Preston’s loss.
Read the post in full below:
“I have always respected people who were loyal and faithful – which brings to mind Kelly Preston. A long time ago, before I was married, I met Kelly Preston at a club and worked like hell to try and pick her up. She was beautiful, personable, and definitely had allure. At the time I had no idea she was married to John Travolta.In any event, my track record on this subject has always been outstanding, but Kelly wouldn’t give me the time of day. She was very nice, very elegant, but I didn’t have a chance with her, and that was that.
When I later found out she was married to John, I liked and respected her even more. Some people have values that matter to them, and she is one of them. Her loyalty was unwavering and I have always remembered that about her.
Being true to someone is very close to being true to yourself. That’s a valuable attribute in today’s world. I’m sure she was a wonderful mother to Jett and my thoughts are with her and her family after their terrible loss.”