WASHINGTON — You’d think with 24/7 exposure to everything Donald Trump, we’d know all about him. But here are a few fun facts you may have missed.
During the president’s six business bankruptcies, investors lost $1.5 billion. He had to reduce his personal expenses to $450,000 a month. Ultimately, the government bailed him out from his many bankers, who didn’t know about the others’ loans to Trump.
When Trump had money troubles, he asked an employee to put the arm on a friend who worked for a bank. She said she couldn’t do it. Trump was furious. He said: “She turned on me after I had done so much to help her. … She ended up losing her home. Her husband … walked out on her and I was glad. … And now I go out of my way to make her life miserable.”
Trump didn’t always love the military. During the Vietnam War, he got four student deferments and one medical deferment, apparently for a bone spur, although he can’t remember which foot had been affected.
Trump would have been ineligible to own the casinos he bought in Atlantic City if the previous federal criminal investigations of him and his associations with mob figures had been revealed in the background checks. Somehow, the required investigation was never done.
Although Trump has spent almost two years urging Republicans to vote, he did not vote in any Republican primary for 27 years until he voted for himself.
The nearly nude photo of Melania Trump for GQ magazine was arranged by Trump, then her boyfriend, who watched the photo shoot. GQ says Melania was “featured in our naked profile shoot on his customized Boeing 727 wearing handcuffs, wielding diamonds and holding a chrome pistol.”
After Trump’s father died, the young Trump sought out as his dad’s mentor, Roy Cohn, the chief lawyer for Sen. Joe McCarthy, the infamous conductor of witch hunts for non-existent communists.
Trump said that he was “amazed” Cohn told him he had spent more than two-thirds of his adult life under indictment for various charges. Cohn went on to unsuccessfully defend Trump on federal charges he engaged in racial discrimination in his housing projects despite getting federal money. Trump settled. Cohn was also Trump’s fixer on construction projects.
Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits, either as plaintiff or defendant.
Trump’s grandfather was kicked out of Germany for draft dodging. He set up a bordello and a bar in Seattle and later prospered as a barbershop owner in New York, although it isn’t clear how. Trump’s father partnered with a known organized crime figure, cheaply built 27,000 subsidized apartments and row houses and was accused of gaming the Federal Housing Administration.
Life father, like son. Trump, too, associated with known gangsters. And he loves manufactured news, as did his father. The elder Trump once hired beautiful women wearing hard hats and bikinis to start knocking down a beloved ride on Coney Island that stood where Trump’s father planned to build an apartment building.
Trump’s older brother had a grandson born very sick and in need of constant medical attention to live. According to Trump biographer David Cay Johnston, when Trump’s father died, all but disinheriting the older brother’s family, Trump made certain that the sick boy’s health insurance was no longer paid.
When Trump tore down the famed Bonwit Teller department store to build Trump Tower in New York, he used undocumented Polish laborers working off the books, without hard hats or face masks despite handling asbestos. They did have sledgehammers.
A federal court concluded they were paid $4 or $5 an hour for 84-hour weeks. No Social Security was paid. Workers slept on site on concrete floors and went hungry when their paychecks bounced while Trump threatened deportation. Sued, Trump settled out of court 10 years later.
To save money, Trump destroyed the art deco sculpture above Bonwit’s door that he’d promised to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (By weird numbering, Trump Tower, billed as having 68 stories, has only 58.)
Trump uses tape to hold down the edge of one end of his tie so the front hangs below his belt, dyes his hair, wears padded suits, paid no income tax for years and personally has donated little to charity. But, hey, you know all of that.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at [email protected].