Sunday, November 06, 2016

End Times

Maureen Dowd is a longtime Clinton hater, but she has written a pretty interesting column on Clinton and Trump - a lot kinder to Trump than I care for, but it's also a lot more nuanced look into his character. I don't really agree with her analysis of either candidate but I found it interesting throughout.

When Donald Trump moved to Manhattan from Queens, drawn by the skyscrapers and models with sky-high legs, he felt he needed to invent a larger-than-life character for himself.

Author and former ABC correspondent Lynn Sherr remembers that back in 1975, Trump had a starter apartment down the hall from her at 65th and Third, and she saw different women in cocktail dresses leaving almost every morning.

“I think he felt it wasn’t a fancy enough place for them,” Sherr said. “That was the beginning of the gilt and marble.”

Trump started hanging out at Yankee Stadium with a group of towering characters — George Steinbrenner, Roy Cohn, Rupert Murdoch and Lee Iacocca. Sometimes Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant would stop by. Donald modeled himself on these men, living large and talking big.

From Cohn, he learned about winning, without regard to right and wrong. And from Steinbrenner, he learned about indiscriminately grabbing the limelight. As Trump once said to his Yankee pals, “good publicity, bad publicity, as long as it’s publicity.”

They would sit in Steinbrenner’s suite at a big conference table watching Reggie Jackson slug home runs on TV. They got together all over town, especially at Elaine’s and Le Club, a hub in Midtown for wealthy guys, models and actresses.

“Donald was not a big night life person, except for Le Club,” said one former Steinbrenner staffer. “He was always very likable in those days. He had a big personality, but he was the youngest of the group. He was never arrogant or full of himself. He always was respectful and pleasant to everybody.”

But he created another character for the Republican primaries, playing to the feral instincts of angry voters, encouraging violence at his rallies, hatred toward journalists and disrespect for democracy itself.

“He’s so used to playing a role in different areas of his life,” said Donny Deutsch, the ad man and TV personality who appeared on “The Apprentice” a few times and was once friendly with Trump. “He saw the crowd’s adulation and it drove him. He started to get the biggest cheers for saying the most offensive things.

“He detached himself from himself. I don’t think he believes in the Muslim ban or half the things he’s saying. It was more, ‘If this gets applause, I do it,’ in a Pavlovian dog kind of way. He just got into this character. He was so taken with the whiff of his own musk. And the irony of all this is, he didn’t have to. He could have run as an outsider with a populist message without all the evil and mean components.”

More at the link.