The Trump Files: Donald Perfectly Explains Why He Doesn’t Have a Presidential Temperament

Ivylise Simones

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Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“I think I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that’s ever run for the office of president. Ever,” said Donald Trump in July. “Because I have a winning temperament. I know how to win.”

But in Trump’s second book, Surviving at the Top (released as Trump’s empire was crumbling under massive debt in 1990), he described his temperament in ways that wouldn’t seem to bode well for a leader of the free world. “I get bored too easily,” he wrote. “My attention span is short and probably my least favorite thing to do is to maintain the status quo. Instead of being content when everything is going fine, I start getting impatient and irritable.”

He also explained how he enjoyed the thrill of the chase more than anything else. “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting…not the having,” he explained.

It was a rare moment of introspection from the billionaire, but he clearly wasn’t the only one who noticed his blow-it-up streak. Trump also described a conversation he had with his friend Alan Greenberg, then the head of Bear Stearns, when Trump was pondering selling his over-the-top yacht to finance the construction of an even bigger one. “For you, getting these isn’t half the fun, it’s almost all the fun,” Greenberg replied, according to Trump. “You set out to achieve something, you get what you are after, and then you immediately start singing that old Peggy Lee song ‘Is That All There Is?'”

In Donald’s mind, Greenberg had nailed him. “Alan was right about that,” he wrote. “If you have a striving personality, the challenge matters most, not the reward.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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