Donald J. Trump in 2000: How I’ll Be the First Celebrity President
In an eerily prescient interview in 2000, Donald Trump predicted his own political rise and laid out his plan to hack the media.
It was 2000 when Donald J. Trump first made noise about running for president, and when Bob Guccione Jr. asked the developer, not yet a reality TV star, to write for Gear about what a Trump candidacy, and potential presidency, would offer Americans.
Here’s The Donald—quoting Thoreau?!—and foreseeing what the press could not: the rise of The Donald.
I have been amazed by the way the media has handled the possibility of a Trump candidacy. Many people find it outlandish that someone from outside professional politics should seek the American presidency. The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn’t become a national leader. Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don’t we want people in public office who show signs of life? I am what I am, and I make no bones about it.
There is much wailing among pundits that we have become a celebrity culture in which athletes, movie stars, and businessmen are considered for public office. Sure it helps that 97 percent of the people know who I am. But after that voters are looking for accomplishments and qualifications. Mine? I run a billion-dollar corporation. I have created thousands of jobs. I keep a constant eye on the bottom line to make sure that my company is profitable. Perhaps it’s time that America was run this way.
What experience do I bring to politics? In the early 90s, when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, I was $9.2 billion in debt, $900 million of which was in personal guarantees. I not only climbed out of that abyss but also built my business back to something several times as valuable. In my work I deal hourly with politicians and bureaucracy. Usually I get what I want. I stand for quality of work. I stand for getting things done.
An outsider can shine some light into the smoke-filled back rooms of conventional politics. That’s what I intend to do. America is a country woven together from a huge diversity of theories, expectations and dreams. All of our greatest businessmen, scientists, artists and adventurers were considered unconventional, if not crazy, at some point in their careers. We build this country on original thinking. Thoreau said, “In Wildness isn’t found preservation of the world.” Wildness isn’t found only in forests, rivers and wildlife. To save the world you need intellectual and spiritual wildness as well. You need new ideas and new ways to make them reality.
America deserves a government that welcomes the kind of original thinking that has made our country great. We have to work together to build the America we deserve. Every person from whatever constituency should be free to add his or her voice. In fact, they owe it to the rest of us. A straight-talking citizen-politician—like me—can have a huge impact. The whinnying culture critics and media hacks are ridiculous when they bemoan the rise of celebrity culture and warn about the decline of traditional political values. They’re on somebody’s payroll. As a true conservative, I believe that a citizen politician, with the support of other private citizens, is smart enough and gifted enough to lead this great country and give it new spirit. If things go well, I’ll have a chance to demonstrate that fact.