Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)
THE ONE QUESTION I get asked all the time is, “Mr. Trump, how do I get rich?”
What they are really asking me is, “How do I achieve happiness?”
Most people believe that once they’re rich they’ll automatically become happy. I’m not going to pretend that being rich doesn’t offer a lot of wonderful opportunities, but it doesn’t necessarily make you happy. I’ve learned that wealth and happiness are two completely different things.
I know the richest people in the world. Many of them are great negotiators and great businesspeople. But they’re not necessarily nice people, nor are they the happiest people. They’re rich, they’re smart—I’d hire them to negotiate for me anytime, yet their personal lives may leave something to be desired.
The happiest people I know are those people who have great families and real values. I’ve seen it. I know it. People who have a loving spouse and have children they really love are happy people. Religion also plays a very large factor in happiness. People who have God in their lives receive a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction from their faith.
Those who have watched me fire people on The Apprentice, who have read my bestselling books, or who have attended my Learning Annex seminars think they know me. Well, they know part of me—my business side. The professional part. I usually don’t speak much about my personal life or my personal values or about how I came to be who I am today.
To begin with, my father and my mother were enormous influences on me. Fred Trump was a rich man, but he made sure his kids worked hard. Believe me, he didn’t hand us anything—we had to work for what we got. He would drag me around with him while he collected small rents in tough sections of Brooklyn. It’s not fun being a landlord. You have to be tough.
I’d see him ring the bell and then stand way over to the side of the door.
“How come you’re over there?” I asked once.
“Because sometimes they shoot right through the door,” he replied. Rent collectors usually did this work, but the methods were the same.
My work ethic came from my father. I don’t know anybody who works harder than I do. I’m working all the time. It’s not about money—I just don’t know a different way of life, and I love it.
I raised my own kids the same way my parents raised me. I have five great kids. While my older ones were growing up, I’d have dinner with my kids almost every night. When they needed me, I was there for them.
Truthfully, I was a much better father than I was a husband, always working too much to be the husband my wives wanted me to be. I blame myself. I was making my mark in real estate and business, and it was very hard for a relationship to compete with that aspect of my life.
My kids were a different story. I was always there for them. My two oldest sons claim they’re the only sons of a billionaire who know how to run a Caterpillar D10. While my daughter Ivanka’s friends were vacationing in the South of France, she was in New York working.
My children have great mothers. My kids were raised to become hardworking, respectful adults. I could not be prouder of them. We never had any of the drug or alcohol problems that some of my friends’ families have had to deal with. Hopefully it stays that way! Now I see my kids becoming great parents.
Growing up in Queens, I was a pretty tough kid. I wanted to be the toughest kid in the neighborhood and had a habit of mouthing off to everybody while backing down to no one. Honestly, I was a bit of a troublemaker. My parents finally took me out of school and sent me upstate to the New York Military Academy. I had my share of run-ins there as well.
While I wasn’t afraid to fight, eventually I got the message. I learned respect for other people. I learned self-discipline. By the time I was a senior, I was made cadet captain—one of the highest ranking cadets.
My religious values were instilled in me by my mother. The first church I belonged to was the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens. I went there every Sunday for Bible class. The church had a strong influence on me. Later I went to Reverend Norman Vincent Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church when I was in New York, and joined Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida.
Reverend Peale was the type of minister that I liked, and I liked him personally as well. I especially loved his sermons. He would instill a very positive feeling about God that also made me feel positive about myself. I would literally leave that church feeling like I could listen to another three sermons.
I learned a lot from Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote the classic The Power of Positive Thinking.
I think people are shocked when they find out that I am a Christian, that I am a religious person. They see me with all the surroundings of wealth so they sometimes don’t associate that with being religious. That’s not accurate. I go to church, I love God, and I love having a relationship with Him.
I’ve said it before—I think the Bible is the most important book ever written—not even close.
Perhaps The Art of the Deal is second. (Just kidding!)
I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years—God is in my life every day. I don’t get to church every Sunday, but I do go as often as I can. A lot of Sundays, when there’s a special occasion, and always on the major holidays, I make sure I am there. People like to give me Bibles, which I love.
Jimmy Fallon asked me a question on his show one night: “Have you ever apologized? Ever, in your whole life?” I told him that I think apologizing is a great thing—but you have to have been wrong. Then I promised, “I will apologize in the distant future if I am ever wrong.” The audience laughed, as they should have. If you want to know if I’ve ever been wrong, the best thing to do would be to ask my kids. They’ll tell you the truth about that.
Of course I’ve done things wrong. Show me a human being who hasn’t. But when I do, I go out and try to make things right. I try to do a better job going forward.
I have been asked if I thought the Gospels would have a bearing on my public policy choices. That question has been asked of candidates for political office since Al Smith, a Catholic, ran for president in 1928. Many people thought JFK ended the discussion in 1960 when he said he would be president of all Americans. I am who I am, and deep down the Gospels helped make me that person. In business, I don’t actively make decisions based on my religious beliefs, but those beliefs are there—big-time.
What does offend me is the way our religious beliefs are being treated in public. There are restrictions on what you can say and what you can’t say, as well as what you can put up in a beautiful public area. The fact is that our deep-rooted religious beliefs have made this country great. That belief in the lessons of the Bible has had a lot to do with our growth and success.
That’s our tradition, and for more than 200 years it has worked very well. For years you’d have beautiful mangers in public spaces and nobody complained about it.
Now? Mary and the baby Jesus are seldom shown. Even the word “Christmas” has somehow become controversial.
Who in the world could be offended by someone saying “Merry Christmas”?! That greeting isn’t critical of any other religion, and it isn’t being disrespectful to those who practice another religion. It’s a wonderful tradition.
I don’t understand why the same people who demand respect for their beliefs often don’t show respect for the beliefs of others. It seems like every week there is a negative ruling on some issue having to do with Christianity. I think it’s outrageous, totally outrageous. The president should do something about it. If the president has to go through the court system to do it, the president should do it. But this president won’t.
It’s well-known I am not fond of President Obama. I think he has been an awful president. His inexperience and arrogance have been very costly to this country. He’s weakened our military, alienated our allies, and emboldened our enemies. He’s abused his power by taking executive actions that he had no right to take. The next president is going to have to reverse and repeal many of the actions he’s taken.
I did take a lot of criticism for not responding when an individual made what some people considered to be an anti-Muslim comment at an event in New Hampshire. People have their beliefs and their opinions. It’s not my job to defend the president. President Obama would never defend me.
Anybody who wonders how I feel about women should just take a good look at the Trump Organization.
My positive feelings about women are reflected in the number of women who have worked in my organizations. I placed women in important leadership positions in the Trump Organization long before anybody else gave them that opportunity because I knew they could handle it. I was the first developer ever to put a woman in charge of a major construction project in New York City.
On The Apprentice, I was always pointing out the business skills of women. Talk to any of the women who worked for me and they will all tell you the same thing—I am a tough, demanding boss. I reward success and I penalize failure. I treat women no differently than I treat the men who work for me. I give women the responsibility they earn with their performance, I pay them the same, promote them accordingly, and, when they mess up, fire them the same.
I couldn’t be more proud of my record with women.
Maybe my spokesperson on this subject should be my daughter Ivanka. I take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that my children not only work with me, but when I’m criticized, they are the first to defend me.