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But Barrett’s reporting paints a picture of Trump’s background that’s somewhat at odds with the one he paints for himself.
Far from that of a self-made billionaire, the image of Trump that emerges from Barrett’s reporting is that of a scion of a wealthy family who got ahead, in large part, thanks to family connections — many of them political.
After all, the story he was working on, which would land Trump on our cover in January of 1979, wearing a sneer and a mop of brown hair, was the first detailed examination of Trump’s business practices to appear in the press. Nearly 40 years on, Trump — the right wing’s preening, bombastic id — is running for president. primary voters, much to the chagrin of the party establishment.
His campaign, once covered by the media mostly as a joke, is showing no signs of slowing down: At press time he was leading in most major polls of likely G. And despite lurching from one crisis to another — the disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants, the insistence that Senator John Mc Cain was not a war hero — his fledgling campaign has not yet fallen apart. Trump’s continued success seems to have caught everyone by surprise, including Barrett.
But after a few rings he lifted the receiver and heard an unfamiliar voice. ’ ” Barrett says, his voice booming, taking on Trump’s now unmistakable accent. He was “circling,” as he puts it today, determined to have his ducks in a row by the time he sat down with his subject.
It was Trump’s way of letting him know he was keeping an eye on him, Barrett says.
He couldn’t imagine who might be on the other end; no one but a few government employees could have possibly known he was even in that office. ’ I’d never talked to the guy in my life.” Though he’d been working on the story for several months, he hadn’t yet approached Trump.
He cited these same projects when he announced his candidacy back in June, recounting that “after four or five years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of great deals — the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
I was responsible for the convention center on the West Side.
“No one could have predicted,” Barrett says, that he would be polling better than former Florida governor Jeb Bush, seen only weeks ago as a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. Well, it seems to me that it’s very possible the game has changed.
Actually, in Barrett’s view, the campaign’s success may have even caught Trump himself off guard. Right now he must be seriously thinking that he has a shot at the nomination.