What I Learned from Trump: A Graphic Biography

trumpbioJust when you think you have heard or read enough about Trump, you come across a book that tells you something new.  I certainly did not expect to find any revelations in a graphic novel, but here we are.

I picked this book up on a whim as I was looking for a completely different graphic novel. As a bit of news/political junkie, I had to read this.  It was a fun, quick,  yet insightful read.

Rall describes the political and economic climate that set the stage for a Trump candidacy. He discusses Trump’s strategy and his appeal to voters.

Rall also draws some interesting parallels and differences between Nazism, Hitler, fascism, and Trump. I know, Godwin’s law and all…but it’s worth a read.

There are some pretty interesting facts I had not realized. They are a mix of serious and just plain juicy.

  • Trump’s father’s reputation was “austere and hardworking.” He lied about being German to his Jewish tenants and said his family was Swedish. He had very high expectations of his children.
  • One of five kids, Trump was a difficult child, always getting into trouble. In second grade, he punched a music teacher because he thought she didn’t know enough about music.
  • Old classmates referred to detention as a DT for Donald Trump.
  • In 7th grade, his behavior was so bad, he got kicked out of school, even though his father was on the school board. He was sent to military school.
  • Is high level of confidence annoyed his peers. They considered him cocky. He was very focused on his hair, keeping it as long as military school allowed.
  • He was also described as cutthroat and competitive. So competitive, that an old roommate stated that anyone who would come close to competing with him, “he had to destroy.”
  • Fellow students at Wharton described him as bright, but disinterested in academics, often not reading assignments but bluffing his way through.
  • Trump decided to never smoke, drink or do drugs after the death of his brother, Fred Jr. who died of alcoholism (whatever that means). His brother was not as good at or interested in the family’s real estate business and received “relentless”pressure and criticism from Donald and their father.
  • He once went on a blind date with Candice Bergen. He showed up in a three-piece burgundy suit, matching burgundy boots, and a matching burgundy (chauffeur-driven) limousine.
  • In 1980, Trump hired illegal immigrants from Poland to demolish a building where he planned to build Trump Tower. He paid them $5 an hour, which they weren’t always paid. They slept on-site and if they complained, they were threatened with deportation.  They eventually sued and won.
  • In 1981, Trump bought a high-rise across from Central Park called the Barbizan Plaza (now Trump Parc East). It was cheap because it had old tenants paying cheap rent that hadn’t been raised in years. He was not legally allowed to evict them and didn’t want to spend the money to buy them out. So he ordered the superintendent of the building to stop accepting the tenants’ packages, or fulfilling repairs. One tenant described a leaky pipe that led to mushrooms growing on the carpet. He then took out newspaper ads offering empty units to the homeless. He claimed he wanted to help the homeless, but everyone at the time saw this as a way to force his tenants out.

And finally, my favorite line: “Trump was an equal opportunity asshole.”

Whether you are a fan of Trump or not, this is still a fun and informative read. Enjoy!

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