Trump Off Camera: The Man Behind The ‘In-Your-Face Provocateur’

Trump gave the Post team more than 20 hours of interviews but declined to give permission for them to talk to his siblings or past associates who’d signed non-disclosure agreements.

.. They grew up with a lot of the kinds of accoutrements of wealth that their neighbors and friends didn’t have.

And Donald Trump was very cognizant of this. And when he was in high school, he began what became a lifelong pattern of trying to be one of the guys, one of the people, close to people, very much a the kind of plainspoken character we’ve come to know. And he took pride always in having this kind of easy rapport and connection with the construction workers on his father’s sites and with the other blue-collar workers around town. He saw himself as someone who could connect with blue-collar people in a way that others of his wealth might not.

.. He was by both his friend’s description and his own a rambunctious kid who got in trouble a lot and who was a bit of a ruffian. From the youngest age, about age 6 or 7, he pelted the neighbor’s toddler with rocks from across the yard. He pulled the pig tails of a classmate. He got into a physical altercation with one of his teachers.

And so he was someone who was kind of a rambunctious kid, even obnoxious by some accounts. And he says that he hasn’t changed since second grade. So that kind of in-your-face provocateur character that we’ve come to see in the campaign is something that traces back very cleanly and consistently to this childhood as kind of a tough kid.

DAVIES: I have to ask, did he crave attention then?

FISHER: (Laughter) Yes, he certainly did. And he was someone who was very full of himself. He had some good friends early on. But after he left middle school to go to the military academy, from then on it’s hard to find any evidence of close relationships, friendships. In fact, when I asked him about friendships, he said he really doesn’t have friendships of the kind that most people would describe. He said, if you think about friendships as people going out and having dinner together, he said he doesn’t have anyone like that and never really has.

.. And yet what we’re told by people very close to him, and including women who were publicly linked to him romantically, is that one would never end up in the bedroom with Donald Trump. In fact, he would go upstairs to his apartment by himself with a bag of candy and watch TV. And that was his pattern. That was his preferred way to spend an evening. And the romances that he touted on the gossip pages were not necessarily actual romances. They were for show.

DAVIES: There is a moment late in the book when you ask him to name some close friends, and he says…

FISHER: Yeah, I asked him well, who would you turn to if you’re going through a troubled time, if you have some problem that you want to discuss? Are there any friends you could turn to? And he paused and he was uncharacteristically quiet and almost humble, and he said, well, I don’t really have anyone quite like that. I would turn to my children. And he does have a close relationship with his older children, his adult children.

And it’s interesting, he followed the same pattern with his children that his father did with him where when Donald was growing up, he found that his father was actually kind of cold and distant in the early years. But when Donald was old enough in his mid-teens to spend time at the office, he would go there and hang out with his father and go out and collect rents together and drive around to the various properties. And they really bonded over the business, learning the business.

Donald has now done the same thing with his children. Each of them lived with their mothers once the couples had divorced and were really quite distant from their father until, again, that period in the teens when they were able to come to the office and learn the family business and become a part of that. And that’s when Donald Trump really engaged with his kids as he had not previously.

 

.. And one night in Manhattan, he walked into a nightclub that he belonged to. And there was a man named Roy Cohn.

And Roy Cohn, of course, is the famous – or infamous – lawyer who was the aide to Joseph McCarthy of the Army-McCarthy hearings that was held in the 1950s. And Donald got to talking to Roy Cohn and told him about this racial bias case brought by the federal government.

And Cohn, who himself had fought the federal government, said, don’t settle. Fight like hell. When they hit you, hit back 10 times harder. And the bottom line is after this discussion at the nightclub, Donald Trump decided that he would, in fact, fight like hell. And he absorbed a philosophy that he maintains to this day. When you’re hit, hit back 10 times harder.

 

.. The sure-fire way to get sued by Donald Trump apparently is to question the amount of his wealth, the extent of his wealth. And he said as much to us several times that – that’s something that he gets quite angered by. In fact, when Comedy Central, the cable channel, did a roast, a celebrity roast of Donald Trump, the word was put out to all of the comedians coming on the show that you can joke about anything to do with Donald Trump and his family – you could even joke about his children – but do not question the extent of his wealth. And the comedians abided by that rule.

And similarly, when Trump did sue Timothy O’Brien, the author of a previous biography, the thing that ticked him off, the thing that triggered the lawsuit was in fact a question – a chapter that goes into just how wealthy is Donald Trump really.

 

.. DAVIES: You know, a lot of people call Donald Trump a narcissist. Listen to me – a lot of people – that’s the way Donald Trump describes things that – when he wants to make…

FISHER: (Laughter) You’re not saying it, just a lot of people are saying it.

DAVIES: Well, more than one observer has suggested that he seems to have narcissistic tendencies. But I bring this up because you note something he said in, I guess, one of his books about the value of narcissism and successful business pursuits.

FISHER: He wrote in one of his books about his belief that narcissism is an extremely valuable and important asset for a business person. Only through narcissism, he wrote, can someone have the kind of drive and dedication to their task and to their work that would allow them to be successful on this grand scale. So he truly believes this about himself.

s As president, Trump’s legacy of lawsuits and minimal briefings isn’t helping

As President Trump manages his latest crises, he is turning to strategies from his tumultuous business career: rely on family and a few trusted advisers, demand absolute loyalty from those beyond the inner circle, threaten opponents with legal action, and insist on bare-bones briefings.

.. His threats — such as tweeting that fired FBI Director James B. Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” — have often backfired.

.. “The day I realized it can be smart to be shallow was, for me, a deep experience”

.. Trump’s view of Washington is rooted in deep distrust of government authority, stemming from the day in 1973 when the Justice Department sued him and his father for racial bias

.. When judges suspended his entry ban that mostly affected Muslim travelers and immigrants, he attacked judges and vowed to “see you in court,” just as he had during his business career.

.. Trump often deployed a tactic of telling others that he was taping their conversations and monitoring their work, and threatening to file lawsuits or to reduce payments owed to contractors. By suggesting that he had secretly recorded his dinner conversation with Comey, Trump apparently hoped to prevent the fired FBI director from speaking negatively about him.

.. Flynn’s firing took 18 days from the time that acting attorney general Sally Yates warned White House Counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn had compromised himself

.. McGahn is the nephew of Patrick “Paddy” McGahn, who once was Trump’s lawyer.

.. Paddy McGahn “was one of the few people that just didn’t care and would say anything to Trump,” O’Donnell said in a telephone interview. “He was a fixer, getting out in front of things, issues that might come, before they turned into problems.”

.. A former White House lawyer who has spoken to McGahn said the counsel ill served the president if he did not make it sound like an emergency.

.. there are concerns that McGahn, unlike his uncle, was reluctant to stand up to Trump.

.. He often paired the lawsuits with verbal vitriol, seeking to intimidate those he sued. While Trump keeps up the vitriol in the White House with his use of Twitter

A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America

Rothstein’s new book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies that mandated segregation. He notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.