Former President Donald Trump said the “rich friends” he acquired from his presidency made it all worth it to him, according to an excerpt from reporter Maggie Haberman’s upcoming book published in The Atlantic on Sunday.
“The question I get asked more than any other question: ‘If you had to do it again, would you have done it?’” Trump was quoted as telling Haberman during one of three post-presidency interviews.
“The answer is, yeah, I think so. Because here’s the way I look at it. I have so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are,” he said according to the excerpt of her book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.”
Haberman, who has spent years covering Trump for The New York Times, called his admission “as jarring as it was ultimately surprising,” considering his first impulses weren’t to mention public service or his believed accomplishments.
Trump did, in a later interview, say that “getting things done” was what he liked about the job and he listed a few accomplishments, Haberman noted.
Though he apparently didn’t share more about his secret friends, he did say that he doesn’t stay in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping. He wavered when asked about North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, however.
“Well, I don’t want to say exactly, but …” he was quoted as saying while trailing off.
Haberman said she later learned after her interview that Trump had been telling guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that he has continued to stay in contact with Kim, who she noted is featured in a photo on his office wall.
She said Trump told her that he had “incredible things” in his possession from his White House days, but said that letters he received from the dictator and “most” other White House documents were in the National Archives.
As it later turned out, letters from Kim were found in boxes at Mar-a-Lago, along with other classified material, The Washington Post reported back in February.
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of federal records.