Donald Trump in '97: 'I Would Probably Not Be a Very Successful Politician'

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump in '97: 'I Would Probably Not Be a Very Successful Politician'

A compilation of some of Trump’s most flagrant contradictions.

In the 1990s, Trump, a seeping fleabag, was in a bit of a situation. His companies owed over $3 billion, and he was personally liable for around $830 million of that. It was back then that he pointed out a hobo to his then-wife Marla Maples and said, “He’s a beggar, but he’s worth about $900 million more than me.”


But he eventually rebounded through a number of clever business tricks, and used the experience to fuel the sequel to his initial bestseller The Art of the Deal, 1997's The Art of the Comeback. In the book, the newly triumphant magnate brags about how he managed to make it back to the top, despite his temporary lapse. His advice includes playing golf, getting even, and always having a prenuptial agreement. It is thoroughly off-putting, and manages to completely contradict much of his current presidential campaign’s central tenets.

Like whether or not he would be good at a presidential campaign:

People have always asked me if I’ll ever be involved in politics. It seems every so often there’s some unfounded rumor that I’m considering seeking office—sometimes even the presidency! The problem is, I think I’m too honest, and perhaps too controversial, to be a politician. I always say it like it is, and I’m not sure that a politician can do that, although I might just be able to get away with it because people tend to like me. Honesty causes controversy, and therefore, despite all the polls that say I should run, I would probably not be a very successful politician.

Or his feelings about Hillary Clinton as made clear by this photo and caption:

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump in '97: 'I Would Probably Not Be a Very Successful Politician'

Here are a few more contradictions on the media, women, and Diet Coke:

On the media in 1997:

Now, for another annoying subject: reporters. People of the media are often recklessly devious and deceptive. Recent polls have shown that the general public is wise to the act. Journalism—if you even want to call it that, these days—is widely considered one of the most untrustworthy professions in the United States.


On the media in 2015:

I hate some of these people, but I’d never kill them. I hate ‘em. I’ll be honest. I would never kill them. I would never do that. Uhhhhh? No. I would never do that... But I do hate ‘em and some of them are such lying, disgusting people.


On the courts in 1997:

Court systems have become backlogged for years with superfluous cases. In New York in particular, a case will often take seven or eight years to actually get to court. This is certainly not the judge’s fault, because most of the judges in New York are hard-working, diligent men and women with brilliant legal minds. The fault lies in a system that is meant to be abused, and which is costing states and the country hundreds of millions of dollars. Perhaps more important, it’s creating centuries’ worth of delay. The saddest part of all is that this problem should be easy to solve, and everybody, including the American Bar Association, knows exactly what I’m talking about. The simple answer is this: The loser pays all costs related to the case including, but in no way limited to, the legal fees of the winning party.

If this legislation were enacted, it is my opinion that you would see our courthouses become totally efficient again, in that the caseload would drop by perhaps 70 to 80 percent. The judges and their staffs, who now work endlessly to catch up with needless motions made by nonsense lawyers, would be free to concentrate on the real cases, the ones that deserve to go to court. Everyone knows I’m right, but no politician wants to take on the wrath of the lawyers’ lobbying groups. Somebody should—because that person could be assured of being in office forever.


On a lawsuit against a writer who called him a “millionaire” instead of a “billionaire” in 2016:

I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.


On women in 1997:

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 naïve or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye—or perhaps another body part... 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...

I only have one regret in the women department—that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer.


On how he talks about women in 2016:

Certainly I never thought I would run for office.

On Diet Coke in 1997:

I never drink coffee—only Diet Coke.

On Diet Coke in 2012:


There is a single piece of prescient advice from the ‘97 book that still hits a nerve: “Just remember to give me all the credit and promise not to blame me!”

Image via AP.

Senior Editor, Jezebel



In ‘97 he probably wouldn’t have been. I think Trump is only doing as well as he is because our first Black president, and the constant Republican attacks on his legitimacy, brought right-wing racism into the light. In ‘97, racist dog-whistling was a little harder to hear.