By now, most people have their own opinion about president Donald Trump based on what they’ve seen from his policies and what they’ve seen from his televised speeches.
Trump’s election was one of the most controversial in history given the billionaire’s lack of political experience, and after more than 100 days in office, the controversy hasn’t died down. Trump remains very unpopular in the eyes of the media, and his approval ratings with the general public remain among the lowest in history for a president.
But when it comes to Trump, is what you see truly what you get, or is there another side to the New York mogul? We’re taking a look at 10 people who knew Donald Trump before he got into office to give you a better picture of who he was before taking the oath of office.
10. Nicole Miller – He’s A Nice Guy!
The fashion designer has only kind things to say about Trump, ranging from her praise of him as a family man through her interactions with his daughter Ivanka to how he treated her and a friend when they flew on his plane.
“He was a very gracious host,” Miller said. “He made sure we were well-attended to and taken care of.”
However, he didn’t exactly interact much with her on the flight.
“I remember thinking he was a guy’s guy because he watched a game on the entire flight to Puerto Rico,” she remembered.
Trump might have made a great impression on Miller, but that wasn’t the case with No. 9.
9. Mark Bowden – He’s A Dick
The former writer for Playboy didn’t have much of an opinion of Trump after meeting with him for a piece on Trump’s comeback in the late 1990s. Bowden found the billionaire both vain and dishonest, with several of his stories not matching reality.
“Time after time the stories he told me didn’t check out, from Michael Jackson’s romantic weekend at Mar-a-Lago with his then wife Lisa Marie Presley (they stayed at opposite ends of the estate) to the rug in one bedroom he said was designed by Walt Disney when he was 18 (it wasn’t) to the strength of his marriage to Maples (they would split months later),” Bowden wrote.
8. Joe Scarborough And Mika Brzezinski – He’s Changed
The headliners of MSNBC’s Morning Joe have made no secret of their past friendship with Trump, as both have known him for over 10 years and have reported being shocked by what they’ve seen from him in public.
Both have claimed they were hopeful that Trump would back down from his campaign persona and become the measured, thoughtful person they said they knew privately, and both have expressed disappointment that they continue to not recognize the president compared to the private citizen.
Find out about the guy Donald Trump fired who became one of Trump’s biggest fans in slide 7!
7. Bradford Cohen – He Fired Me, But I Love Him
The Fort Lauderdale attorney was a contestant on the second season of Trump’s hit show The Apprentice for all of two episodes… despite getting an exemption in the first episode.
He chose to waive the exemption and Trump fired him for it, calling it a stupid decision.
But there were no hard feelings, as Cohen proudly displayed a Trump banner outside his office throughout the campaign and Trump now calls him a “smart guy who’s doing fantastic things.”
“Maybe it’s because I know him, but I just think he is going to be an amazing leader,” Cohen said.
6. The Apprentice Producers – Nice Enough, We Guess
The Apprentice was a major building block for Trump and introduced him to a new audience, many of whom decided they loved the brash billionaire. The producers had a harder time reaching a decision.
“To be honest, he really was nice,” one producer said. “On TV, he looks like a posh, fancy guy, but when the cameras are off, he’s a regular guy. He is like an everyman.”
Others weren’t fond of him. “He is a typical politician. He’ll only talk to you if he needs something from you. If he doesn’t, he won’t.”
Take a look at No. 5 to see what another businessman thinks of Trump!
5. Donny Deutsch – He’s Just Having Fun
Donny Deutsch is a regular on Morning Joe, and like the main hosts, he’s known Trump for several years. His children and Trump’s have attended the same school, and Deutsch has pointed to Trump’s love for the spotlight as the start of what became his presidency.
“He’s going to be a very big factor, and he loves it,” he said at the start of Trump’s run for the presidency. “I know Donald well enough to know he’s just having fun.”
Deutsch’s tone has changed since it became clear Trump wasn’t just having fun, as he has become a consistent critic of the president.
4. Randal Pinkett – That Birther Stuff Is BS
Most winners and contestants who made it deep into The Apprentice have mostly positive things to say about Trump. Dr. Randal Pinkett is a notable exception. Although Trump showed concern on camera following the death of Pinkett’s grandmother, things weren’t comfortable between the two men when the cameras stopped rolling.
Notably, Pinkett was offended by Trump’s insinuation that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States and privately told Trump that. According to Pinkett, however, Trump accused him of making it a publicity issue.
“Donald surrounds himself with people who don’t challenge him,” Pinkett said. “He weeds out people who want to challenge Donald or who want to be critical of Donald.”
Check out an opposing view from a winner of The Apprentice in No. 3!
3. Bill Rancic – He Lifted Me Up, He’ll Do The Same For America
Pinkett’s memories of Trump aren’t warm, but Bill Rancic, the winner of season one, sees a different person than what his fellow alum of The Apprentice saw. Rancic saw a hard worker in Trump and a person who valued a similar work ethic.
“I see him as someone who likes to lift people up,” Rancic said. “He lifted me up. He gave me an opportunity that was absolutely spectacular and I think he’s going to do the same for all of America.”
2. Charley Steiner – He Wants Attention No Matter What
In the 1980’s, Donald Trump made his foray into professional sports by purchasing the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League, a move that brought him attention he desperately craved according to announcer Charley Steiner, who said Trump wanted to be a big shot.
“What Trump desired, what he craved, was attention—imagine that,” Steiner said. “He felt that buying a football team, albeit the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, not the NFL, would get him into the greater media consciousness.”
The fame from football lasted only two years, as Trump’s ill-fated attempt to challenge the NFL plunged the USFL into bankruptcy.
Find out about the person who unquestionably knows Trump the best in slide No. 1!
1. John Miller – He’s Great, Just Great, I’m Telling You
Of course, nobody knows Donald Trump better than his former publicist John Miller, for the excellent reason that the two men are one and the same. In the 1990’s, Trump pretended to be his own publicist to try to get positive stories about him in the press while going through the end of his first marriage to Ivana Trump. One tactic was to play up his treatment of his ex-wife and his eventual second wife, Marla Maples.
“He’s a good guy, and he’s not going to hurt anybody,” “Miller” said. “He treated his wife well and . . . he will treat Marla well.”
Trump admitted Miller was a joke in the 1990s, but years later, claimed to have never heard the name.
When you look at the information from people who know the 45th president best, the underlying truth is that there’s a mix of personality traits that make up who Donald Trump really is.
When the cameras aren’t rolling and he’s stepped away from the limelight, he can be gregarious, charming and funny to those people he enjoys and can show the hostile side that the media has seen many times to those who he doesn’t particularly care for.
Were there any traits that caught you off-guard or that you were surprised to learn about Trump? Whose take, if anyone, most closely matched your view of the man in office?
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