December 22, 2015


Another Time, Another Trump : I was hired to write his first 'campaign book,' when he was out on a lark. Here's what I learned about him. (DAVE SHIFLETT, Dec. 21, 2015, WSJ)

Mr. Trump also pronounced himself a big fan of diversity, inclusiveness and civility. Soon after sending in the first draft of the book I was summoned to New York by his longtime assistant, Norma Foerderer (who died in 2013). To this rustic hack, she was the epitome of the sophisticated New Yorker: bright, attractive and the possessor of penetrating eyes that would have made a firearm redundant.

It was a long trip, from Virginia and back, for a meeting that lasted just a couple of minutes. Norma had one message: The draft was too "strident" and would have to be toned down. So crucial was this demand that it could not be given over the phone. Such was the importance of making sure the boss wagged a civil tongue.

The book set that tone in the first pages. Mr. Trump denounced the murder in Wyoming of the young gay man Matthew Shepard, the harassment of Jews and all other "hate crimes." He praised friends who had taught him about the "diversity of American culture" and "left me with little appetite for those who hate or preach intolerance." Among those friends were Sammy Sosa, Sean "Puffy" Combs and Muhammad Ali.
Fast forward to the present, where Mr. Ali recently found it necessary to send his old pal a remonstrance in the form of a news release titled "Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States," in which he denounced "those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda." The champ didn't explicitly mention Mr. Trump, who chose to ignore the message.

Instead he rolls merrily along, like fortune's child, bolstered by terrorist fear and political competitors variously seen as pathological liars, empty suits or the butt-ends of political dynasties. He is also the default candidate for all who have grown weary of culture cops and bureaucratic bullies. For a real-estate guy, he seems to have the political game figured out pretty well.

But there is also a tragic element to the rise of candidate Trump. In what should be his finest hour, he acts as if he had been raised in a barn (as we rustics like to say). It isn't just his barking-dog stridency but also his habit of calling respectable, hardworking people "losers." For someone who has been given so much in life, it's an especially odious line of attack.

Posted by at December 22, 2015 2:36 PM