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13 Years Ago, Donald Trump Was Already Convinced He Could Make America Better

13 years ago, he asked himself, "Where do I go from here?"
IMAGE Esquire
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The offensive, unfiltered, race-baiting, and often nonsensical rhetoric spewed by the short-fingered one on the U.S. presidential campaign trail is as shocking as it is entertaining, so naturally Donald Trump gets awarded with the most media coverage, political commentary, and late-night sketches, despite most sane Americans realizing the apocalypse is at hand. Trump is simply gaming the system, after all. The wealthy businessman found even bigger global notoriety as a reality show host who enjoyed firing people on camera. Thirteen years ago, at the peak of The Apprentice’s ratings, he landed on the cover of Esquire while giving one of his typical illogical rants in lieu of an interview. Here are a few excerpts, which may or may not have foreshadowed the things to come:

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The audience either likes you or it doesn't. Obviously, the audience likes me.

“One thing about television, it brings out personality. People are able to watch me in action. They hear my voice and see my eyes. There’s nothing I can hide. That’s me. Television brings out your flaws, your weaknesses, your strengths, and your truths. The audience either likes you or it doesn’t. Obviously, the audience likes me."

“My life is seeing everything in terms of ‘How would I handle that?’ Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in. I would never have handled it that way. I would have been tougher on terrorism. Bin Laden would have been caught long ago. Tell me, how is it possible that we can’t find a guy who’s six-foot-six and supposedly needs a dialysis machine? Can you explain that one to me?"

"But it’s more than that. I’m competitive, and I love to create challenges for myself. Maybe that’s not always a good thing. It can make life complicated. I’ve gone through so many phases—although to me it’s been one steady life. I used to be thought of as an ‘80s phenomenon. When the real estate market crashed in the early ‘90s, I was billions in the hole. Yet right now my company is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than ever. The show is the biggest thing on TV. And I’m saying to myself, ‘Where do you go from here?’ And my answer is: I have no idea.”

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This was originally published in our April 2016 issue. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Audrey N. Carpio
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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