The Trump Files: Why Donald Called His 4-Year-Old Son a “Loser”

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on September 1, 2016.

If you’re hosting a TV show that claims to be a “roadmap to the American Dream,” who better to turn to for tips on success than the Trump family? So in 2006, CNBC’s Donny Deutsch brought Donald Trump, Jr. onto his show, The Big Idea, to get the “next-generation billionaire secrets” on how to make it big. Trump Jr.’s lesson, passed down from his dad at an early age, was simple: paranoia.

Seven o’clock in the morning, I’m going to school—hugs, kisses, and he used to say a couple things. ‘No smoking, no drinking, no drugs.’ I think a great lesson for any kid. But then he followed up with: ‘Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Ever.’ And, you know, he’d follow it up two seconds later with, ‘So, do you trust me?’ I’d say, ‘Of course, you’re my dad.’ He’d say, ‘What did I just—’ You know, he thought I was a total failure. He goes, ‘My son’s a loser, I guess.’ Because I couldn’t even understand what he meant at the time. I mean, it’s not something you tell a four-year-old, right? But it really means something to him.”

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