Long before Donald Trump became a presidential candidate, the billionaire businessman was widely known as the real estate mogul and big personality at the center of television's "The Apprentice." On this reality show, Trump had ambitious contestants compete in a series of team-based projects, each week eliminating whom he deemed the weakest performer with what became his often-parodied catchphrase: "You're fired."
"The Apprentice" debuted in 2004 and in April of that same year, Trump appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," where he opened up about his years-long experience in firing employees. Trump even recalled the first person he ever had to let go from a job.
"I was going to the Wharton School of Finance and I was doing deals while I was going to school. I was doing deals in Philadelphia and somebody was not doing a good job. I had to terminate that person. And I did it," Trump said with a shrug. "It's business. You have to do it."
It may be a professional necessity, but Trump told Oprah back then that it wasn't one he enjoyed, despite how entertaining it might have looked on TV.
"You know, the concept of firing is not a very pleasant thing, and I don't like doing it," he said. "You don't like doing it when they're good-hearted, working people that maybe don't have it... They tried and it doesn't work."
But that doesn't mean Trump never relished firing someone.
"I love doing it if somebody really, really deserves it," Trump said. "If they've been bad, if they've been disloyal, if they've been thieves... I don't mind it at all!"
And for these special cases, he wouldn't just stop with the firing.
"[I'd] go after them afterwards," Trump said. "I take it to the full extent."
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