After 16 months of running for president, Donald Trump has made his position on losing very clear. He’s not a fan. Now hours of interviews with a biographer are shining a light on what the New York Times calls his “deep-seated fear of public embarrassment” and a constant, gnawing dread about losing his own status as a bona fide American celebrity.
The interviews were given to the Times by Michael D’Antonio, a former Newsday reporter who conducted them in 2014 and released a book called The Truth About Trump earlier this year. D’Antonio first tried to give the interviews to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the Times says, but when aides showed little interest, he turned to the paper.
The tapes contain some revealing statements that aren’t meant to be. Lines like:
“I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see.”
“I don’t have heroes.”
“I don’t like talking about the past.”
With each of these answers, Trump brushes aside D’Antonio’s question while revealing a lack of curiosity and self-awareness. When he’s asked to dig deeper and explain what these feelings reveal about himself, Trump declines.
At other points in the interviews, he admits to his obsession with media attention and his disdain for people who are publicly embarrassed. It’s worth noting that he does not include himself among the latter, despite his bankruptcies and a litany of business flops. “I never had a failure,” he says.
Trump’s inflated sense of self doesn’t just lead to him denying his own flaws. He also thinks most other people are garbage. “For the most part you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect,” he says.
One of the most interesting nuggets on the tapes comes from an interview with Ivana Trump and describes a scene of how her ex-husband reacts when he is publicly bested by a woman.
IVANA TRUMP: So he goes and stops, and he says, “Come on, baby. Come on, baby.” I went up. I went two flips up in the air, two flips in front of him. I disappeared. Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant. … He could not take it. He could not take it.
Might see him do the same thing again in two weeks.