Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you.
==Donald Trump, in a 1981 interview
What kind of a businessman is Donald Trump? What does his business career reveal about what kind of a President he would be?
I read two biographies, THE TRUMPS: Three Generations That Built an Empire by Gwenda Blair (2000) and NEVER ENOUGH: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success by Michael D’Antonio (2015), and some magazine articles to try to learn an answer.
Gwenda Blair’s book goes into Trump’s family background – his immigrant grandfather, Frederick Trump (originally Friedrich Drumpf), who operated saloons during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, and his father, Fred Trump, who built FHA-subsidized housing in Brooklyn.
Michael D’Antonio’s book brings his career down nearly to the present. Neither book is a hatchet job and both authors are careful to give credit where credit is due. But both writers reinforced my belief that Donald Trump is not the kind of person I want to see in the White House.
Trump’s purpose in life is to demonstrate that he is a winner, which is validated by making others into losers. Winners, because they are strong and smart, deserve to be both rich and famous—fame being the most important. Losers, because they are weak and gullible, deserve no pity.
Like his lawyer and mentor, Roy Cohn, he never backed down, always counterattacked, and never forgave an injury.
He was a risk-taker, a skilled negotiator and a brilliant self-promoter.
He was a skilled negotiator, who understood the other person’s weaknesses and desires, He could not be bluffed or intimidated. Seemingly insurmountable difficulties spurred him into redoubled efforts. All these are good qualities.
But he was not always a man of his word, did not always told the strict truth, and made others pay the price of his failures.
He played off multiple negotiating partners against each other. He enticed lenders into giving him so much credit that they threw good money after bad rather than cut their losses. He was a master of publicity and used notoriety as a business asset.
He is a workaholic who does not drink, smoke or use drugs. He lives in luxurious settings among expensive possessions, but takes no time to enjoy them. He is uninterested in art, music, literature or fine food and wine. His one indulgence has been the company of beautiful women, which adds to his fame and celebrity.
Unlike his father, Fred Trump, he was not an especially good manager of his businesses. Once he has completed a deal, he then becomes interested in the next deal. The same was true of his first two marriages.
Based on his life history, I think it is plain that Trump regards the Presidency as another prize to be won, rather than a duty to be performed or a means to right wrongs. I don’t know what he would do if elected. I’m not sure he knows.