In 2014, Buzzfeed senior political writer McKay Coppins wrote a delicious, blistering takedown of Trump’s then-universally derided political aspirations called “36 Hours on the Fake Campaign Trail.” That profile temporarily tanked whatever legitimacy the rumors of a Trump run had, but 2014 was a simpler time. And according to Coppins’ new Trump profile, “36 Hours on the Fake Campaign Trail” may have more to do with that than we imagined.
Coppins’ new, lengthy, furiously reported Buzzfeed article may go deeper down the Trump rabbit hole than any other piece of journalism from this election cycle. More than just bizarre Trump quotes (although there are plenty), Coppins gets into the head of one of the great mysteries of the decade: Just what is it that makes Trump so …Trumpian? To what do we owe our current nominee? Coppins posits that Trump’s political aspirations stem from a wealth of insecurity and a lifetime of never being taken as a serious figure, despite his many attempts to become so. The piece is titled “Confessions of a Dishonest Slob: How the Haters Made Trump” and while the whole piece is required reading, here are a few select excerpts:
On how a younger Trump courted Manhattan’s wealthy elite:
Trump’s goal was to expand the family business into the glitzy world of high-end Manhattan real estate while actively forging the “Donald Trump” persona — that of the high-flying, fast-talking, larger-than-life titan of industry.
To get this self-portrait painted in the press, he cultivated relationships with gossip columnists and fed tips to the tabloids about his glamorous-sounding love life. When Forbes announced it would begin publishing an annual list of the 400 richest Americans, Trump sweatily lobbied the magazine to ensure his inclusion — the beginning of a sacred Trump tradition that would continue for decades. (“We love Donald,” the Forbes 400 editors wrote in 1999. “He returns our calls. He usually pays for lunch. He even estimates his own net worth.”)
Nick Everhart, president of a political consulting firm, on the first time he ever polled Trump’s appeal as a potential presidential candidate:
“[They] were not ideological conservatives — they were just mad and they felt disrespected,” Everhart said. “It was not unlike the Trump brand-marketing demo: Think of a guy who has a small subcontracting business or something. Maybe he went to college, maybe he didn’t; maybe he was in the military for a while. He’s done pretty well in life but he’s never felt respected. Nobody ever looked at him like he was a winner. That’s exactly who Trump has made millions off of. That’s exactly who Trump is.”
On being the target of President Barack Obama’s ridicule at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ dinner:
The longer the night went on, the more conspicuous Trump’s glower became. He didn’t offer a self-deprecating chuckle, or wave warmly at the cameras, or smile with the practiced good humor of the aristocrats and A-listers who know they must never allow themselves to appear threatened by a joke at their expense. Instead, Trump just sat there, stone-faced, stunned, simmering — Carrie at the prom covered in pig’s blood …So when a reporter caught him on his way out and asked if he liked the jokes, Trump couldn’t come up with anything to say but the truth.
“No,” he replied, unusually quiet. “Not really.”
On feeling the sting of the New York Post:
One morning in early June, Nunberg recalled, he was sitting in Trump Tower as his boss read that day’s New York Post. There was a column by conservative writer Jonah Goldberg gleefully ridiculing the Apprentice star’s 2016 prospects. “He’s a more plausible candidate than, say, Honey Boo Boo,” it read, “but that’s mostly because of constitutional age limits.” When Trump finished, he set the paper down quietly on his desk.
“Why don’t they respect me, Sam?” Trump asked.
On what finally tipped him over the edge:
Trump’s advisers took turns making appeals to his ego, to his patriotism, to his lust for TV cameras — anything they could think of. What finally seemed to do the trick, according to Nunberg, was floating the notion that his haters might get the final word on him in the history books. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in this election,” he recalled telling Trump. “But no matter what, they’re gonna write about it a hundred years from now. And they’re never gonna be able to say you didn’t run.”
Trump adopted this as a kind of mantra in those final, anxious days before entering the race. “They’re never gonna say I didn’t run,” he recited to one aide after another. “They’re never gonna say I didn’t run.”
The entire piece is excellent and should be read at all costs.
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.