Trump: An American Dream

I haven’t been here in a while, but let me assure you that my health routines are continuously improving. I am getting more protein in my diet, and drinking more greens (green smoothies) than ever. I know these health-building foods are a long-term investment for a good life, and I’m so proud of myself.

I also took last night and this morning to watch the four episodes of the show Trump: An American Dream. I haven’t watched anything on Netflix in sometime, and I wanted to watch something engaging and relatively quick. This turned out to be a series rather than a one hour or so documentary, but I did learn some new things.

The first thing I learned is that Donald Trump didn’t turn this way in his old age. This is something I was truly convinced of before the documentary. There are press conferences and interviews of him in his late twenties on tape on this show, and he just looks and sounds like a younger version of himself. The people that were spoken to to create the documentary are journalists who’ve covered stories on him for decades, and also people that worked for him.

There is lots of footage of interviews from the 80s and 90s and also recent interviews with some of the people closely involved with those stories as advisers or former employees or even the reporters who covered the stories.

And what do I mean by “this way”? Well, it’s clear something is just a little amiss with the Donald, and I suppose one of the symptoms of that is his need to have a big sense of himself. I don’t know if I’d call it a sense of grandeur, because it didn’t seem as though he ever believed in his own grandeur enough to take a break. It’s as though he constantly needed to prove to himself that he was Donald Trump.

Maybe related to this need, he was a bad spender. Spending on projects and creating projects to expand his sense of himself rather than because those were good business decisions. But with this, that perceived/desired sense of grandeur did expand after his successful Grand Hyatt hotel project in Manhattan.

The docu-series made it seem as though that was an important first step in his career, away from the empire his father had built, and on to something he was responsible for and that he did. From then on, he did make several other smart decisions, though several seem to have been marred by his sense of largess and spending in situations he shouldn’t have and taking risks that didn’t make sense. This narrative was really favoured through the documentary, and I don’t have evidence to its contrary, but it might be biased.

After all, I don’t know what the business and work trajectories of other business tycoons look like, or what decisions would have reaped better outcomes for him.

Regardless, my impression from the way this story was told is that if he weren’t so… insecure (is that the word?) so consumed by a need to prove himself or be the Donald Trump he wanted to be, then he might have been a more successful businessman, with less debt, for example. In other words, a smart guy, with good business instincts, but in a way handicapped by his ego. This, again, was news to me because I didn’t consider him all that smart overall, but it was interesting to see how even intelligence couldn’t overcome his insatiable ego.

His personal life was also extensively covered in the series, and for him everything seemed to unravel a little with his divorce from Ivana. It had come out that he wanted to be in an open relationship with Ivana, was involved with Marla Maples, and it seemed as hough Ivana couldn’t and wouldn’t put up with it, so she left him.

I also learned that becoming president had likely been his lifelong dream. It wasn’t something he came up with in 2015 and he had in fact been studying the campaign strategies of others for nearly two decades; it wasn’t an accident at all. The populist slant in his campaign was a strategy, as well, and Twitter was a way for his campaign advisors to find out what issues could move his base of supporters. The Mexico wall, for example, wasn’t his idea. It was his campaign advisor’s, and the intent was to tweet about it to see what the response would be and include it as a campaign issue if it was successful.

I think I remember the advisor saying that his barometer for whether they could win on an issue was 100 retweets. So if Donald tweeted about the wall and got over 100 retweets, then the advisor considered that a success. Remember that this was a few years ago, before he began receiving thousands of retweets.

He never once seemed like someone truly wanting to help others, except maybe when he offered to build the women’s ice rink in New York, but even there he had hired a contracting company on the promise they would receive publicity in exchange for completing the project free and then never mentioned their company’s name and taking all of the credit for himself. They had an interview with the contractor who said he felt they’d been thrown under the bus by Donald Trump because he never once mentioned them.

Instead he seems to have done it for that favour, the fame, and the power it would bring himself.

 

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