Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)
OUR “UNBIASED” POLITICAL MEDIA
FOR A LONG TIME I’ve been the man the media loves to hate.
It hasn’t taken me long to learn how truly dishonest the political media can be. At the first Republican debate, Fox journalist Megyn Kelly was clearly out to get me. And of course, at the second debate, virtually everyone was attacking me because most of their poll numbers were sinking while mine were surging.
I’m perhaps a controversial person. I say what’s on my mind. I don’t wait to hear what a pollster has to say because I don’t use pollsters. The media loves my candor. They know I’m not going to dodge or ignore their questions. I have no problem telling it like it is. These presidential debates would normally have attracted a couple million viewers, but the first night we had 24 million tune in, and the second debate drew a similar number. These were the largest audiences in Fox News’ and CNN’s history—bigger than the NBA Finals, the World Series, and most NFL telecasts.
Why do you think people tuned in? To hear the nasty questions? To watch a bunch of politicians trying to pretend they are outsiders (like I truly am) so they can be more successful? The fact is I give people what they need and deserve to hear—exactly what they don’t get from politicians—and that is The Truth. Our country is a mess right now and we don’t have time to pretend otherwise. We don’t have time to waste on being politically correct.
You listen to the politicians and it’s as if they are speaking from a script titled “How Boring Can I Possibly Be?” Watching some of these people being interviewed is about as exciting as watching paint dry. They’re so afraid of tripping on their own words, terrified that they’re going to say something unscripted and go off message—that’s the phrase they use, “go off message”—that they are verbally paralyzed. They’ll do anything they can to avoid answering a question—and the media plays the game with them.
The object of this game is to appear thoughtful while still looking like a regular guy (or gal) who would be fun to have a beer with. The pollsters tell them how to be everything to everybody without alienating anyone. These same politicians who boldly promise they are going to stand up to our enemies won’t even give direct answers to reporters. I don’t play that game, because I’m a very successful businessman and my mind-set is that this country needs to bring itself back from the depths of all our problems and the $19 trillion we owe.
At the first debate, I responded to Megyn Kelly’s adversarial question by telling her, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to Russia and Iran and Saudi Arabia.”
I’m not bragging when I say that I’m a winner. I have experience in winning. That’s what we call leadership. That means that people will follow me and be inspired by what I do. How do I know? I’ve been a leader my whole life. Thousands of my employees know that I’ll deliver and help them deliver. Sometimes I can be self-effacing, injecting a little humor, having some fun, and kidding around. We have a good time. What I say is what I say, and everyone that knows me really appreciates it.
With the problems we’re facing, these debates have become “Trump versus The Others.” The attacks are coming at me from all directions, because they all know I am the only one talking about really changing this country and making America great again. The moderators read some quote of mine (or misinterpret a quote of mine) and then ask someone else to comment. Do I have the right temperament? Would I run the country like a business? When did I “actually become a Republican?” These exchanges make great TV. Sadly, they’re almost like watching a sporting event.
And guess what? Few, if any, of these questions get to the heart of what is wrong with our country and what really matters to Americans. It’s all very personal, because politicians (and their journalist cronies) know that the public doesn’t want to hear the details of our nuclear sellout to Iran or what we’re going to do about all the federal red ink bleeding the American taxpayer dry these days. The personal exchanges between me and the others become the big story of the debate and the focus of news coverage for weeks. You’d like to think that Fox News and CNN could do better. For the record, I think CNN and Fox treated me badly. Still, you’d think a major news network would take their responsibilities more seriously and use these debates to help the public determine who has the best plan to make our country great again.
But they missed that opportunity.
The whole debate format has worked out fine for me. The American people are smart and figured out pretty quickly what the real motives are for turning up the personal attacks against me. And I get more minutes, more front-page coverage, more requests for interviews than anyone else—and most important for America—the opportunity to speak directly to the people.
There are many reporters whom I have a lot of respect for, especially in the financial media. When the financial journalists interview you they know what they’re doing, and they ask direct questions that can provide important information to their viewers. There’s money at stake and they don’t play the same silly “gotcha” games as the political media do. They can’t afford to.
I don’t mind being attacked. I use the media the way the media uses me—to attract attention. Once I have that attention, it’s up to me to use it to my advantage. I learned a long time ago that if you’re not afraid to be outspoken, the media will write about you or beg you to come on their shows. If you do things a little differently, if you say outrageous things and fight back, they love you. So sometimes I make outrageous comments and give them what they want—viewers and readers—in order to make a point. I’m a businessman with a brand to sell. When was the last time you saw a sign hanging outside a pizzeria claiming “The fourth best pizza in the world”?! But now I am using those talents, honed through years of tremendous success, to inspire people to think that our country can get better and be great again and that we can turn things around.
The cost of a full-page ad in the New York Times can be more than $100,000. But when they write a story about one of my deals, it doesn’t cost me a cent, and I get more important publicity. I have a mutually profitable two-way relationship with the media—we give each other what we need. And now I am using that relationship to talk about the future of America.
Many people believe I do well with the press. Maybe I do, sometimes, but anyone who believes I can use the media is absolutely wrong. Nobody can use the press. It’s too big, too widespread. For me, it has been absolutely necessary to try to build relationships with reporters. There are many journalists I respect. Some of the finest people I know are journalists. They are honest, decent, and hardworking; they bring honor to their profession. If I do something wrong or make a mistake, they report it accurately. I’ve got no problem with that. The mistake bothers me, not the reporting.
But there also are a lot of times I believe that the media is abusive, both to people like me and to the process. The key word is “accurately.” Like in every other profession, there are people who are not good. There is no question that considering all the press I’ve had, both good and bad, I’ve definitely met people at both the very top as well as the lowest end of the food chain. I mean, the very bottom: They are horrible human beings, they are dishonest. I’ve seen these so-called journalists flat-out lie. I say that because incompetence doesn’t begin to explain the inaccurate stories they have written. There is no other explanation.
The image I created through the media enabled me to build one of the greatest luxury brands in the world. People buy my apartments, buy my label, and play on my golf courses, because they know if I put my name on it, it has to be top quality. Why do you think NBC gave me my own show, The Apprentice? They did it because I set myself apart to be a target, the big, tough employer. The result was one of the most successful shows in television history. I’m the only boss in the world who boosts a person’s future status by firing them.
Sometimes the truth hurts, but sometimes that is the only way to get better. And a lot of the viewers told me that by watching my show they learned how to be more effective in their jobs so they wouldn’t get fired.
I don’t mind criticism. People call me thin-skinned, but I have thick skin. I have a wonderful and beautiful wife. I’ve got billions of dollars. My children are highly intelligent and accomplished executives who work with me. I’ve got a pile of potentially huge projects sitting on my desk. I can’t walk into a room or down a street without people racing toward me and telling me that they are excited for our country to win again. So criticism doesn’t bother me, and it can’t hurt me. I’ve had power and I’ve had profits, but now it’s time to help the people have a voice and to make sure the people are heard. I am doing this to make our country great again.
Not too long ago, a lot of the pundits kept asking me if I was serious. I thought they were asking the wrong question. What they should have been asking was if I was serious about the future of our country. I have never been more serious about anything in my life.
In the quest for ratings, every show is trying to make news. The problem is that they aren’t doing their job. They aren’t interested in informing the public. Instead, they play their own game, the “gotcha” game. As I’ve said, some of the political media are very dishonest. They don’t care about printing the truth, they don’t want to repeat my entire remarks, and they don’t want to be bothered explaining what I meant. They know what I said, they know what I meant, and they edit it or interpret it to have a different meaning.
I was reminded of this behavior when I announced that I was running for president on June 16 in New York. I spoke at great length about a lot of different topics. I listed a lot of the problems we were facing: illegal immigration, underemployment, a shrinking gross domestic product, an aging nuclear arsenal, and Islamic terrorism. I went through them all. What did the media focus on? They concentrated on the fact that I said Mexico was sending its worst people over our southern border. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems,” I said. “And they’re bringing those problems to us.”
The next thing you heard was that Trump said all immigrants were criminals. That wasn’t what I said at all, but it made a better story for the media. It gave them some headlines. What I said was that among all the illegal immigrants coming from Mexico were some pretty bad people, some of them are rapists, some of them are drug dealers, some of them are coming here to live off the system, and we’d better take immediate and tough measures to close our borders to “illegals.”
People who know me know I would never insult Hispanics or any group of people. I’ve done business with many Hispanics. I’ve lived in New York all my life. I know how wonderful the Latino culture can be. I know the contributions they make to our country. I’ve employed many hardworking Hispanic people through the years. I have great respect for Hispanic people, but that’s not what the media reported.
Here’s what the media reported: TRUMP CALLS ALL IMMIGRANTS CRIMINALS and TRUMP CALLS ALL MEXICANS RAPISTS!
One of the problems the political media has with me is that I’m not afraid of them. Others run around practically begging for attention. I don’t. People respond to my ideas. These media types sell more magazines when my face is on the cover, or when I bring a bigger audience to their television show than they normally attract, and by far. And what’s funny is that it turns out the best way for them to get that attention is to criticize me.
But the American people are beginning to understand that. They have finally figured out that a lot of the political media aren’t trying to give the people a fair representation of the important issues. Instead, they are trying to manipulate the people—and the election—in favor of the candidates they want to see elected. These media companies are owned by billionaires. These are smart people who know which candidates are going to be best for them, and they find a way to support the person they want.
It would be impossible for me to even estimate how many times I’ve been interviewed by how many reporters. I couldn’t even tell you how many magazine covers I’ve been on.
Recently, I was interviewed by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “Best interview in America,” he called me. Here’s what happened:
During the show, he started asking me a series of questions about an Iranian general and various terrorist leaders. “I’m looking for the next commander in chief to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard yet?”
What a ridiculous question. I don’t think knowing the names of each terrorist leader more than a year before the election is a test of whether someone is qualified. We’re not playing Trivial Pursuit. Every question Hugh asked me was like that—although I noticed he didn’t ask too many questions about our economic policy or about reforming the tax system—things I’ve spent my life mastering. Instead, he asked these “gotcha” questions that proved nothing except that he was able to read some names and pronounce them correctly. Does anybody believe George W. Bush and Barack Obama could name the leaders of all terrorist organizations? (Not that they are the standard!)
People see through this nonsense. We have real problems and I am talking about how to fix them, and the media continues to play these same old games. In the end though, Hugh Hewittt was just fine, and has since said some great things about me.
Every question was “gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.” I gave Hewitt the best possible answer: Those people probably won’t even be there in a year. I should have added that if America doesn’t do the right things, we won’t be help much longer either.
Let me tell you something: When I need to know something, I know it. When I decided to build the most magnificent golf resort in the world in Aberdeen, Scotland, I didn’t know the names of the Scottish officials who would be involved in this project—but by the time we went to work, I knew every person it was necessary to know. I’d probably met most of them, too. At the beginning of any kind of project I know what I need to know—and then I get the information to make sure the project gets done to my satisfaction. And I have strong executives who know how to—as their title suggests—execute.
So here’s the way I work: I find the people who are the best in the world at what needs to be done, then I hire them to do it, and then I let them do it . . . but I always watch over them.
We have great military leaders in this country. We produce the finest officers and soldiers anywhere in the world. And we have some really smart men and women working in our intelligence community. These people spend all day, every day, working on serious problems. These professionals are the real experts. They know all the players.
One reason that I have been successful in business is that I hire the best people. I pay them well, and I keep them working for me. There are times when I meet someone working on the other side of the deal. Maybe they don’t beat me, but they give me a tough time. I respect that. In fact, I respect that so much that sometimes I hire them away from the company they were negotiating for.
Truthfully though, I can’t really blame Hugh Hewitt for doing what he did. Just like Megyn Kelly, he figured out that the best way to get attention is to attack Donald Trump. This guy got more headlines from our little exchange than he probably ever got in his whole career. It wasn’t the names of terrorist leaders that he cared about—it was his own name. And it worked for him.
It’s just the same old game, where the people come last. That needs to change, too.
Begging for attention really sums up the problem we face in this country with our media. There is such competition that they’re more interested in entertaining their audience than educating them. They like me because I help them attract more viewers. They hate me because they know I don’t need them. I learned a long time ago how to talk directly to the people who matter—to regular Americans who are fed up with the career politicians.
That’s probably you—the real Americans—which is why I’ve written this book.