Saturday, October 29, 2022

the last book I ever read (Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, excerpt four)

from Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman:

As part of his effort to promote hundred-thousand-dollars-a-person memberships at Mar-a-Lago, Trump spent roughly a year appealing to Official Preppy Handbook author Lisa Birnbach to come and spend a weekend there for a cover story he hoped to see run in New York magazine, calling her monthly even before it was clear the magazine was interested in such a piece. He appeared oblivious to the fact that Birnbach had been a deputy editor of Spy, the source of endless torment for Trump. (She was also close friends with advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who later accused him of a rape that allegedly took place in the fall of 1995 or early 1996.)

He gave Birnbach a tour of the property, demonstrating the endless salesmanship for which he had become known, and posed for a photo with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Ivanka, sitting on his lap, holding his cheek with her hand. “Look at these doors. Look at the quality in these doors. Nobody has ever seen stuff like this.” And then: “This is a good room. This is the French Room. This is rated like No. 18 or something like that.” Birnbach interrupted, asking whether the rooms were actually rated. “I rate the rooms,” Trump replied. “This room . . . but this is a . . . You know, it’s very hard . . . I rate the rooms in terms of levels of, you know, what you think is the best.” Birnbach pointed out he had used the phrase “the best” quite a bit during their tour. Trump replied, “The best is a very important expression to me.” (Trump ended up complaining bitterly to Birnbach’s editor about how the story, almost entirely a transcript of his own quotes, made him look.)

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