An extensive archive offering a behind-the-scenes look at Donald Trump has come out today.
The archive, released by The Washington Post, is comprised of thousands of pages in financial reports, interview transcripts, immigration records and other raw material, organised into 398 individual documents.
This was all used in the development of Trump Revealed, a biography of the Republican presidential nominee put together by a team of The Post’s reporters.
The book was released by publishing company Scribner last week.
Trump gave the team more than 20 hours of interviews, but did not permit them to speak to family members, or staff members (past or present) who had signed non-disclosure agreements.
Here are some things about the billionaire candidate we’ve learnt.
TRUMP HAD A PRIVILEGED UPBRINGING
The illusion of Trump as a ‘self-made’ billionaire isn’t exactly correct.
According to The Post, Donald Trump’s grandfather made a reasonable fortune from real estate, although it wasn’t a huge one. It was his father, Fred, who became very successful in New York real estate.
Fred Trump built thousands and thousands of apartments across the state of New York; a hard-working businessman who was ahead of his time in the industry.Donald Trump benefited greatly from this, growing up in a world of wealth and privilege. He went to private school, was the only family in his neighbourhood to have a Cadillac, and was to follow his father’s business ventures.
That said, it was noted he was able to connect with blue-collar workers and less wealthy people in a way that other people with his privileged status may not have been able to. They say that he always spoke to and connected with the construction workers.
TRUMP IS PROOF CELEBRITY LIFE CAN BE VERY LONELY
Trump, of course, is one of the biggest global celebrities there is. But he himself admitted he doesn’t have a lot of people he can turn to.
Former classmates of the candidate told The Post that, as a child, Trump was uncontrollable and obnoxious; they even claimed he once pelted a neighbour’s toddler with rocks and got into physical altercations with his teachers. He was said to be very full of himself and struggled to retain close friendships – a trend that would continue throughout his life.
The Post’s senior editor, Marc Fisher, told NPR Trump led a “strikingly solitary life for someone so public”.
Trump said “he really doesn’t have the kinds of friendships that most people would describe… and never really has.”
Even women who were romantically involved with him over the years alleged that he’d never take them upstairs, but would prefer to watch TV by himself with a bag of sweets.
When asked who he would turn to if he was going through troubled times, Trump said he would turn to his adult children.
It’s a known fact that he has a close relationship with Ivanka, his eldest daughter, who has been a key part of his campaign.
If Trump is going through troubled times, he’ll often turn to his daughter Ivanka. Photo / AP
TRUMP ALLEGEDLY SHOWED RACIAL BIAS WHEN RENTING HIS PROPERTIES
The Post has alleged that Donald Trump refused to rent apartments to black people.
They said federal investigators found evidence that Trump’s employees would secretly mark applications of minorities with codes, such as ‘No. 9’ or the letter ‘C’ for ‘coloured’ people.
Testers were periodically sent, including city agency and housing officials, representing themselves as potential tenants who would then file reports.
Eventually, enough evidence was filed to suggest racial bias was definitely taking place in the selection process.
For example, an African-American man who went to inspect an apartment had his application denied, with the agent telling him there was no room.
The following day his wife, a white woman, went for the exact same apartment, and was told they’d be delighted to have her.
TRUMP MAY HAVE VOTED FOR HILLARY CLINTON 16 YEARS AGO
It seems almost incomprehensible that Trump may have ever endorsed his now-opponent Hillary Clinton, but he didn’t deny it.
Back when she was running for the US
Senate of New York in 2001, he even had a fundraiser for the state Democratic Party in his apartment.
When Post reporter Michael Kranish asked him if he voted for her, he didn’t actually know who the candidate running against her was.
“You have to understand that for the most part in New York, whoever gets the Democratic nomination wins,” he said.
“Did you vote for Hillary Clinton?” pressed Kranish.
Trump responded: “I never say who I’m going to vote for, I never tell. I know. But I did have a fundraiser for the party at the time. “I think you know and I’ve said it pretty loud and clear that I get along with all politicians. I felt it was an obligation to get along, including with the Clintons and including with a lot of other people. It was very important for me to get along with politicians in my business.”
When asked about this case, Trump denied that the case was specifically against him and his father, and did not admit to wrongdoing.
TRUMP MAY THREATEN YOU IF YOU WRITE A BOOK ABOUT HIM
Donald Trump gave the journalists behind the book a veiled warning during one of their very first interviews.
When reporters Robert O’Harrow, Drew Harwell and Shawn Boburg called him for a chat on May 23, he immediately expressed scepticism over the book: “What is this for, the book, the book that’s being written in less than a week?”
“Yeah, it’s a tight deadline, but it’s a little longer than a week,” said O’Harrow. “We’re certainly working diligently, and…’
At this point, Trump cut him off, saying: “I just hope the book could be fair because, otherwise, you know, we’ll see what happens. But it would be nice if the book could be fair. But we’ll see.”
For what it’s worth, Trump has publicly slammed the book following its release.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
TRUMP (SORT OF) ADMITTED HE EXPRESSED INITIAL SUPPORT FOR INVADING IRAQ
Trump has frequently claimed he opposed the invasion of Iraq from the get-go.
But in a 2002 Howard Stern interview, when Trump was asked if he was in favour of invading Iraq, he replied: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
Speaking to The Post’sDan Balz and Jenna Johnson, he again said he’d been against the war from the start.
Then, he referenced the Howard Stern interview, saying: “That was a while before the war started. And even then, I was, I don’t know. That’s the first time I was ever asked the question.
“Don’t forget, I’m a businessman. Nobody is asking me about the Iraq War. But Howard is a friend of mine. If you go back to 2004, I was strongly against that war. And I was against it before it ever started because I said it’s going to destabilise the Middle East. And Hillary voted for it. But beyond that – because maybe she was given bad information.
“Beyond that – because I said it was going to destabilise the Middle East. Everything I said was exactly right.”
TRUMP CLAIMED HE’S NOT AN INSULTING PERSON
Trump refused to accept that he insulted anyone.
It’s a touch ironic, considering his infamous insults are the sort of thing Trump routinely makes headlines for.
When asked if this was a political tactic, he responded: “I don’t feel I insult people. I don’t feel I insult people. I try and get to the facts and I don’t feel I insult people.
“I hear what you’re saying but I do not feel that I insult people. Now, if I’m insulted I will counterattack, or if something is unfair, I will counterattack, but I don’t feel like I insult people. I don’t want to do that.”
His official Twitter account tells another story.
TRUMP REFUSES TO BELIEVE HIS FANS ARE INSULTING PEOPLE
At one point, the reporters asked Trump what he thought about his fans calling Hillary Clinton a “b*tch”, and wearing T-shirts that read: “Trump that b****”.
“Is that an appropriate word for your fans to be using?” Post political reporter Jenna Johnson asks the candidate.
“I have not heard that,” he replies. “I don’t like that. But I have not heard that. I would not be happy if I heard it. No, I have not heard it.”
He then hastily changes the subject: “Did you see that the crowds are getting bigger and bigger?”
TRUMP WILL HANG UP ON YOU IF HE DOESN’T LIKE THE QUESTION
Donald Trump allegedly created his own press agent. The Post said he would call reporters saying his name was “John Miller”, but wouldn’t even bother to disguise his voice.
He would then give them fake news
tips, telling them he would be at glamorous events with glamorous people.
At the end of one interview, the journalists asked Trump about this alter ego.
This is the transcript as it appears in the archive:
Boburg: “Mr Trump, we just have two more questions and then we’ll let you run. The story today about John Miller. Did you ever employ someone named John Miller as a spokesperson?”
Boburg: “I think he hung up. I’m pretty sure he hung up.”
O’Harrow: “Yeah, he hung up. That’s the end of the interview with Donald Trump. This is Robert O’Harrow, Shawn Boburg, and Drew.”
The reporters later spoke to his assistant, who said she “heard they got disconnected”.
“Actually, he can’t take the call now,” she said. “I don’t know what happened, but we’re going to have to reschedule maybe for another day?”
“Boy, those were really negative questions,” she added. “Do you have any good questions to ask him? Some positive questions?”
Alas, the John Miller inquiry remains unanswered.