Before he jumped into the presidential race and the media frenzy that comes with it, real estate mogul Donald Trump preferred to communicate with the American people via a more intimate medium -- the simple written word.
The Huffington Post has reviewed nearly a dozen books by and/or about Trump, including one by John O'Donnell, a former executive in Trump's business empire, and one by Tim O'Brien, a longtime journalist and former HuffPost editor. Reading through these works, which go back a full 25 years, one gets a better sense of the businessman's macho persona, his taste for extravagance, his views about women and his rise to the top of the New York City social scene. All quotes are Trump's words except where noted otherwise.
“A good marriage is like negotiating an important deal: You have to consider all the factors, thoughtfully and thoroughly. If you were investing a large part of yourself and your fortune into a venture, believe me, you’d make sure you thought about it for a long time first. That’s how I see marriage. It’s serious, and it’s important. I don’t approach it any more haphazardly than I do a very important deal. In fact, considering the amount of deals I’ve made compared to the number of marriages I’ve had, I’d say I’m quite cautious about marriage. You should be, too.” (Think Like A Billionaire, Donald Trump with Meredith McIver, 2005)
“For a man to be successful he needs support at home, just like my father had from my mother, not someone who is always griping and bitching. When a man has to endure a woman who is not supportive and complains constantly about his not being home enough or not being attentive enough, he will not be very successful unless he is unable to cut the cord.” (The Art of the Comeback, Donald Trump with Kate Bohner, 1997)
“If he doesn’t lose the ballbreaker, his career will go nowhere.” (The Art of the Comeback)
On prenuptial agreements
"There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“I was always of the opinion that aggression, sex drive, and everything that goes along with it was on the man’s part of the table, not the woman’s. As I grew older and witnessed life firsthand from a front-row seat at the great clubs, social events, and parties of the world -- I have seen just about everything -- I began to realize that women are far stronger than men. Their sex drive makes us look like babies. Some women try to portray themselves as being of the weaker sex, but don’t believe it for a minute.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“I remember attending a magnificent dinner being given by one of the most admired people in the world. I was seated next to a lady of great social pedigree and wealth. Her husband was sitting on the other side of the table, and we were having a very nice but extremely straight conversation. All of a sudden I felt her hand on my knee, then on my leg. She started petting me in all different ways. I looked at her and asked, ‘Is everything alright?’ I didn’t want to make a scene in a ballroom full of five hundred VIPs. The amazing part about her was who she was -- one of the biggest of the big. She then asked me to dance, and I accepted. While we were dancing she became very aggressive, and I said, ‘Look, we have a problem. Your husband is sitting at that table, and so is my wife.’
‘Donald,’ she said, ‘I don’t care. I just don’t care. I have to have you, and I have to have you now.’ I told her that I’d call her, but she had to stop the behavior immediately. She made me promise, and I did. When I called I just called to say hello, and that was the end of that. But the level of aggression was unbelievable." (The Art of the Comeback)
"One woman, who was socially prominent, was getting married, and I had bumped into her on Fifth Avenue while she was exchanging wedding gifts. I had my limousine nearby, and she asked if I could give her a ride back to her apartment on Park Avenue. I said absolutely, not even suspecting that within five seconds after the door closed she would be jumping on top of me wanting to get screwed. I said, ‘You’re getting married next week, and I’m going to your wedding.’
‘I don’t really care,’ she said. ‘ I never liked him that much anyway, and you know that.’ I was really in a quandary, because she is a truly great-looking and sexy woman.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression 'the weaker sex' was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye -- or perhaps another body part." (The Art of the Comeback)
“There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed. They are far worse than men, far more aggressive, and boy, can they be smart.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“I don’t know why, but I seem to bring out either the best or worst in women.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“I love women. They’ve come into my life. They’ve gone out of my life. Even those who have exited somewhat ungracefully still have a place in my heart.” (The Art of the Comeback)
“She’s just a woman. She can’t take the business.” (As quoted in Trumped!, John R. O'Donnell with James Rutherford, 1991)
“I don’t need this, some woman crying. I need somebody strong in here to take care of this place.” (Trumped!)
“She is really something else. God, what a body she has!... She’s a beautiful girl. Just a beautiful girl. Fucking gorgeous. An incredible body, just an incredible body. The girl is so physically fit. Beautiful face. A beautiful, beautiful girl.” (Trumped!)
“It’s all about the hunt and once you get it, it loses some of its energy. I think competitive, successful men feel that way about women.” (As quoted in TrumpNation, Timothy L. O'Brien, 2005)
“Sam Jackson should have gotten the Oscar for ['Pulp Fiction'], not Travolta,” Donald mused. “My favorite part is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up: ‘Tell that bitch to be cool! Say: “Bitch be cool!”’ I love those lines.” (O'Brien, writing in TrumpNation)
"I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. There was a great softness to Ivana, and she still has that softness, but during this period of time, she became an executive, not a wife... You know, I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I’ll go through the roof, okay?" (TrumpNation)
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (TrumpNation)
On beauty pageants
"Nobody cares about the talent. There’s only one talent you care about, and that’s the look talent. You don’t give a shit if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.” (TrumpNation)
“Publicity is important because it creates interest in my hotels, residential buildings, and other projects. But sometimes it gets out of hand, and my every move is scrutinized by the press to the point of absurdity... The Trump Organization is in some ways like the Disney Company: Image means a great deal to me. If people don’t associate my name with quality and success, I’ve got serious problems.” (Surviving at the Top, Donald Trump with Charles Leerhsen, 1990)
On his youth
“I was especially carefree. I had a comfortable little studio apartment on Third Avenue in the city, and I maintained a lifestyle that was fairly commonplace then but that now, in an age when people are worried about dying from sex, is hard even to imagine. I didn’t drink or take drugs, as far as stimulants go, I’ve yet to have my first cup of coffee. But I was out four or five nights a week, usually with a different woman each time, and I was enjoying myself immensely.
Wild things happened all the time back then, and nobody thought very much of it. For instance, one day a friend called me at the office and said he needed to set up a date for a certain well-known married woman. This woman was visiting from out of town and was, he said -- using a typical swinging-seventies expression -- 'really hot.'
I had a girlfriend at that time, and so did he, but I knew a guy named Ben who was very worldly-wise. Ben, I was sure, could serve as this woman’s escort and be discreet about it... She turned out to be the wife of a man who was then the prime minister of a major country. I’d heard stories about this lady, but I never thought much of them until that night. We met at the house of the friend who’d phoned me. After we’d all chatted for a while in the living room, the four of us who already knew each other drifted out to the kitchen, leaving Ben and Madame X in the living room to get better acquainted. Which they did. In fact, when we drifted back in, about ten minutes later, she and Ben were involved in an incredibly torrid scene on the couch. I remember standing there and thinking to myself, 'Well, Donald, you’re not in Queens anymore.'" (Surviving at the Top)
On Michael Jackson’s sex life
“Somehow, Michael feels comfortable with me. I asked him how he was doing, and we started talking about his life, including his sex life. I was somewhat surprised when Michael told me he had a new girlfriend. I congratulated him and asked, 'Who is it?' He was very shy and looked down into his napkin, then put the napkin over his face and said, 'Trump, Trump, I don’t want to talk about it, I’m so embarrassed.’ I chided him. ‘Come on, Michael,’ I said, ‘tell me who your new girlfriend is.’ When he finally looked up, he said that it was a girl named Lisa Marie.” (The Art of the Comeback)
On onerous litigation
“Litigation in the United States has gotten totally out of control. It has actually become an accepted business practice for people to use the court’s time, money, and energy in order to effect deals, break up deals, and receive money unjustly. I know people who virtually can’t function without starting a lawsuit, thinking that this will give them the upper hand in even the most simple of negotiations. Politicians ought to be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating this ridiculous situation. Court systems have become backlogged for years with superfluous cases.” (The Art of the Comeback)
"I happen to be a clean-hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as often as possible. Recent medical reports have come out saying that colds and various other ailments are spread through the act of shaking hands. I have no doubt about this.
Almost nothing bothers me more than sitting down for dinner at a beautiful restaurant and having a man you’ve just seen leaving the men’s room, perhaps not even having washed his hands, spot you and run over to your table with a warm and friendly face, hand outstretched. You have a decision to make. Do you shake this total stranger’s hand, or do you insult him by saying that you would rather not? I have done both, and nothing works. If you shake his hand, you then get up to rewash your hands and inevitably somebody else comes over to you to shake hands. If you don’t shake his hand, he walks away with a long face, totally insulted, and bemoans for the rest of his life how that bastard Donald Trump would not shake his hand.” (The Art of the Comeback)
On his fear of AIDS
"It was painfully obvious how ill at ease he was in public situations. In part, I think it was really beyond his control. He was preoccupied by a fear of communicable disease, especially AIDS. Sometimes he’d joke about it, but he went so far as to warn a high-ranking Trump’s Castle publicist to avoid the Jacuzzi in the luxury health spa there because he considered it a potential breeding ground for the deadly virus." (O'Donnell, writing in Trumped!)
"What went on in Studio 54 will never, ever happen again. First of all, you didn’t have AIDS. You didn’t have the problems you have now. I saw things happening there that to this day I have never seen again. I would watch supermodels getting screwed, well-known supermodels getting screwed on a bench in the middle of the room. There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy. This was in the middle of the room. Stuff that couldn’t happen today because of problems of death." (TrumpNation)
On his “tremendous fear of baldness”
“For Donald, image and reality were always in conflict. The Windsor knot in his tie was always pulled tight to his throat. At the same time, he let his sand-colored hair dip down to his eyes and curl over his ears and collar, and he plastered it on the sides with a greasy gel that he believed fostered hair growth. He had a tremendous fear of baldness. He swept his hair across the front of his head like a man trying to hide a thinning patch. He once observed to Mark that he considered baldness a sign of weakness. He gave a tube of the gel he used to Mark, warning him, 'The worst thing a man can do is go bald. Never let yourself go bald,’ as if nature could be circumvented through sheer force of will.” (O'Donnell, writing in Trumped!)
On boxer Mike Tyson
“Tyson sat down in Donald’s corner office hundreds of feet above Fifth Avenue and the two men chatted for about fifteen minutes before the boxer got to the point. Donald recalled their conversation in detail.
‘Mr. Trump, could I ask you a question?’ Tyson asked.
‘Whatever you want, Mike,’ Donald responded.
‘Are you fucking my wife?’
‘Are you fucking my wife? Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife.’
Tyson then pulled out a copy of a Vogue magazine that featured a picture of Ms. [Robin] Givens wearing a Trump Princess hat from Donald’s yacht.
‘Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife and I think you’re fucking my wife,’ Tyson said.
‘Mike, let me tell you something: I never ever even thought about it. And I heard those rumors and they’re disgusting. In fact, I called you a couple of times to tell you that I heard those rumors and it pisses me off. And I never, ever even thought about it. She’s your wife, she’s with you, she’s loyal to you, and it’s total bullshit.’” (O'Brien, writing in TrumpNation)
On dealing with setbacks
"Finally, the ceiling was installed. One Saturday, Donald went up to have a look, accompanied by Steve, some of our hotel executives and a group of contractors. Donald looked up at the ceiling as if it was the first time he had seen it; then he looked at Steve. 'What the fuck is this?' he said. 'Who said to make this ceiling so low?'
'You knew about this, Donald,' Steve replied. 'We talked about it, if you remember, and the plans --'
Suddenly Donald leaped up and punched his fist through the tile. Then he turned on Steve in a rage. 'You cocksucker! Motherfucker! Where the fuck were you? Where was your fucking head?'" (O'Donnell, writing in Trumped!)
“'Where’s my wife? Get Ivana down here,' he said. When she arrived, Donald turned on her fiercely. 'How could you close one of my tables on the busiest fucking night of the year!' he shouted. 'I can’t believe you could be so stupid. Do you know how much money I’m losing here? Stupid! You’re costing me a fortune! This is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen!'” (O'Donnell, writing in Trumped!)