Who is the real Donald Trump?
That is a question people have been asking for decades. There is Donald Trump the businessman and mogul, of course. And Donald Trump the entertainer. And for four years, even Donald Trump the president of the United States.
As a combination celebrity/mogul/politician, we don’t usually get to see the “real” Trump. Instead, we see the mask that he is wearing that day. But a little research into his history lets us get some rare glimpses behind that mask.
Care to take a glimpse yourself? Here is the unknown truth of Donald Trump.
The mogul becomes a celebrity
Trump initially rose to prominence as a New York City real estate tycoon. This led to worldwide fame and even cameos in movies as himself (most notably Home Alone 2: Lost in New York).
Trump’s cameos were not intentional marketing moves, though. Actor Matt Damon told The Hollywood Reporter that Trump required filmmakers write him a part if any of his numerous properties appeared in the movie. “If you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him a part.”
Sometimes, these bit parts were cut, and sometimes they stayed in. But this showed that Trump had celebrity aspirations long before he starred in The Apprentice.
Staying clean and safe
One little-known fact about Donald Trump is that he is a germaphobe. He admitted to Howard Stern (via Newsweek) that he tries to wash his hands as much “as possible” to stay clean. And he doesn’t like to shake hands for fear of contamination.
This actually extends to his preferred meals: fast food from places like McDonald’s. While this is not very healthy (especially when ordering multiple burgers, sandwiches, and a shake, as Trump is rumored to do), he sees it as a way to avoid poisoning.
According to Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (via Newsweek), “He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.”
Not an animal lover
Most presidents have some kind of pet that becomes an iconic part of the presidential family. Trump has never had such a pet in the White House, breaking an unofficial tradition that stretched back over 200 years.
Some of the pets throughout presidential history are pretty wild, including Jefferson’s bears and John Quincy Adams’ alligator. But Trump is not a fan of any pets, even dogs (first wife Ivana Trump simply said he was “not a dog person” in her memoir Raising Trump).
Saying ‘no’ to alcohol
As a rich and famous person for many decades, you might expect Donald Trump to love partying. And while he has partied with figures as infamous as Jeffrey Epstein, he draws the line at drinking alcohol.
Why? The answer is both sad and simple: Donald’s brother Freddy Trump had an alcohol addiction that eventually led to his death. Trump learned from this addiction and said (via Politico), “And to this day I’ve never had a drink, and I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it.”
When you see Trump initiate a toast at state events, it’s usually Diet Coke in the glass!
His own hype man
Trump is no stranger to hype. And he’s not above being his own hype man, even when that involves pretending to be someone else altogether!
From about 1980 to 1990, Trump seemingly relied on a man named “John Barron” to deliver quotes and news to the press. This usually involved Barron defending various Trump scandals or debacles. The only problem: Barron never existed at all.
At one point, Trump had to testify under oath on the topic of John Barron (among other things). And he casually said (via Mercury News), “I believe on occasion I used that name.” This wasn’t even Trump’s first time using a fake name, but it was definitely the weirdest and most consistent.
Money as political motivation
Many people assumed that Trump ran for president as a way to make money. This is seemingly true, though not necessarily in the way that you might expect!
Back when he hosted The Apprentice for NBC, Trump was making a decent paycheck. But not decent enough for Trump: he found out that Gwen Stefani was making $384,000 per episode for her hosting duties on The Voice. This was more than Trump made, so he hatched a scheme to increase his own salary.
Documentarian Michael Moore told The Hollywood Reporter that Trump announced a run for president to simply command a bigger paycheck. “He’d been talking about running for president since 1998, but he didn’t really want to be president. There’s no penthouse in the White House.”
Original presidential bid
The idea that Trump wanted the presidency “since 1998” may sound surprising. However, it all connects back to Trump’s original presidential bid.
Donald Trump actually made an abortive run for president in the year 2000. He switched his party registration from “Republican” to “Reform” so he could make a third-party bid for the White House. On the heels of attempts by Ross Perot to do the same thing, he thought this was a good idea at the time.
And he made it further than you may imagine. Trump actually won California’s Reform Party primary and was making noise about running mates such as Warren Beatty and Oprah Winfrey. But he eventually decided the Reform Party was fading out and (per The Hill) couldn’t give him the “support a candidate needs to win,” and he nixed his original presidential ambitions.
Trump Force One
Michael Moore claimed Trump’s presidential ambitions went back to 1998. It’s possible, though, they went back as far as 1991. That’s when he had a massive jet built that he cheekily named “Trump Force One.”
It was a 757 that cost approximately $100 million. Some of its more interesting amenities included gold-plated seatbelt buckles, a shower, and a big-screen TV on which Trump and his guests could enjoy a thousand different movies that he had onboard. Other features included multiple bedrooms and a dining room.
Trump may or may not have aspired to the presidency in 1991. But it’s only fitting that the signature aircraft for this real estate mogul was nothing less than a flying hotel, effectively bringing Trump’s property empire into the sky.