Years before The Apprentice, I had the occasion to work with Mr. Trump on three different occasions.
One, which I can barely recall, was in his office on Fifth Ave. It was a quick video interview for something I do not remember. (I was in film and video Production for 33 years – And yes, I worked freelance for all 3 network news operations at one time or another.)
The third time I worked with him was when Rudy Giuliani was in drag, for the Inner Circle dinner. We were in Barney’s Department store and I had to put a microphone under his shirt. I was told, no small talk and to get in and out of there ASAP. No hand shaking, as was the usual order of business. I got the job done and there was no drama. (Unlike putting a microphone under Rudy’s dress – but that’s a story for another time.)
When Mr. Trump came down the escalator, I was out of the video business and in another line of work – I had to be at F.A.O. Schwarz the morning he announced. At the time F.A.O. was a few steps from the Trump Tower. As I walked up Fifth Ave there was a wave of college kids walking down Fifth Ave. toward the Trump Tower, and I was wading thru them. It was obvious that these clean scrubbed kids wearing freshly printed TRUMP for President t-shirts were paid to be there. But I’m use to that – in the summer there are places in town where you will be hailed by attractive male and female college kids with a clipboard asking you to talk and sign something for Planned Parent Hood, Amnesty International, the ASPCA, etc. They are hourly employees, and my response is always “Tell your story walking. . .” which they do not do -but stay rooted to the 4 square foot area where I first spotted them. They are usually in pairs. I thought this was the same thing. Pay college kids to make it look like grass roots. I have shot enough rent-a-mobs where the same dozen to 15 people were demonstrating this week for a cause as I filmed two weeks earlier for a different cause, and the producer would make us shoot them up close so it looked like a bigger crowd.
I thought running for president was all a stunt. There is no way I thought, Mr. Trump could work a rope line, stand before a stadium sized audience or even shake hands – I’ve seen his phobia of germs up close. I thought this would last a few weeks. I was very, very skeptical – as I had been in years past when someone would rave about his business genius. Me: “How many times have you been bankrupt?” Them: “uh, none.” Me: “Me neither. He’s been bankrupt 3 times. When you owe the bank $10,000. And can’t pay, you are in trouble. When you are Donald Trump and owe $10 Million and can’t pay, the bank is in trouble.”
I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump in the primary. I voted for Ted Cruz, worried that the Oct 2016 surprise would be that suddenly parental citizenship would matter. I did vote for him at 6:15 AM on election day, with no hesitation.
And now for the second time I worked with Mr. Trump. It was February of 1989, at Toy Fair in New York at the Javits Center. I was working for European TV with a very skilled, very accomplished British producer. During the presser, he asked Mr. Trump about his image on the currency in the game.
He asked if Mr. Trump saw himself on a par with presidents and statesmen. I don’t remember the exact answer, but Mr. Trump didn’t dwell on it long and moved on very quickly to the next question. This was Toy Fair, not a Presidential presser.
And after this time of National emergency, history may well put his face (not in his lifetime, not in mine) on a stamp, on a bill, on a savings bond, or a coin.
It’s time to get back to work America. It’s time to point to the recovered, separated the fact from the fantastic on the numbers. Time to put Anthony Fauci in context to his past predictions. I’d settle for the portrait of Donald Trump on the package of Plaquenil.