Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 1999 /22 Kislev, 5760
Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
PHILADELPHIA --- Donald Trump is a character from the comics. He is the
star of Gotham, a man able to raise golden buildings with
a single economic rebound. He is the Midtown Big Shot
surrounded by beautiful women desperate to please him,
powerful politicians scurrying to befriend him.
"A hundred million dollars!"
That will be his ante, he told me last week, should he
enter the presidential game next year. No, cash will not
The question, he says, is whether he can win the prize.
Not just beat Pat Buchanan for the nomination of the
Reform Party. Not just gain a seat in the 2000 fall
debates. But win the White House itself.
The far more interesting question is whether he might
settle for an alternative prize: the acclaim of having denied
the Reform Party candidacy and debate chair to a man
Trump describes as an enemy of Jews and blacks.
"I think the kind of people who support me are the
workers, the construction workers, the taxicab driver.
Rich people don't like me," he says.
What he means are rich people who inherit their money.
Many who've earned it themselves see him as their hero. The prime
constituency for his candidacy is the purchaser of a Trump Tower condo, the
"very rich Italian guy with the red Ferrari and the beautiful wife."
Donald Trump, let's face it, is to girders and skyscrapers what the famed
"Chairman of the Board" was to singing and show business. Trump is the
Sinatra of Steel.
Why? Because, just like Lee Iacocco, Trump is known not just for making
money but for building things. That sets him apart, not just from the Wall Street
boys, but from the usual White House crowd.
"My business does great," he said during a televised meeting with University of
Pennsylvania students. "I'm the biggest developer by far in New York. And we
can say, 'Oh, he's a developer. He's a business guy. He's made a lot of money.'
"But you know, I look at the other candidates and I say, 'What gives them the
right? They haven't done a damn thing.' I say, 'What gives them the right to go
out and run for office?' "
To Trump, George W. Bush and Al Gore merely inherited their political status
from their celebrated political fathers: "In one case, you have the son. And in
another case, you have the son."
Trump shows even more contempt for Gore's rival for the Democratic
nomination, Bill Bradley, saying his narrow victory over an unknown in his
1990 Senate re-election suggests he "would have been thrown out of office"
had the former NBA player run again.
While he holds his fire on ex-POW John McCain, it's clear Trump is not overly
impressed with the quartet many view as the year 2000 final four. It's equally
obvious that he views Pat Buchanan as a villain straight from Batman.
"I think he's dangerous," he says. "I think that when he ran (in 1992) he really
was responsible for the defeat of George Bush, with that terrible speech at the
Republican convention. That was so bad. It was like 500 years
JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
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