The Trump Files: “Always Be Around Unsuccessful People,” Donald Recommends

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Donald Trump loves to insist that he hires the best people. So why has his barely-there campaign fired two campaign managers, tapped a new campaign chairman who’s been accused of domestic violence and voter fraud, signed up white supremacists as delegates, hired staffers who share racist memes, and otherwise seemingly avoided anything like the “best” people available? This quote from a speech Trump made in March may hold the answer.

Trump decided to give an audience at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wisconsin, a lecture on success during a campaign appearance there on March 30. About halfway through, he turned to the topic of the kind of company that successful people should keep.

“You’ll find, when you become very successful, the people that you will like best will be the people that are less successful than you,” he said, “because when you go to a table, you can tell them all these wonderful stories and they’ll sit back and listen. Does that make sense to you? Okay? Always be around unsuccessful people, because everybody will respect you.”

Ironically, a popular businessman had once warned people about the dangers of only being able to hang around lesser lights. The businessman’s name? Donald Trump.

“Some of the most successful people, I’ve noticed, can associate only with people less successful than themselves,” he wrote in Surviving at the Top, his 1990 book. “When they’re around someone who gets more attention than they do and has accomplished more than they have, they display a major personality complex, acting nervous and uneasy—and I’m sure they say vicious things behind the more successful person’s back.”

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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