Six weeks before the election, President-elect Donald Trump met with TMZ’s Harvey Levin for an interview. The show, “Objectified: Donald Trump,” aired Nov. 18, 2016. Throughout the interview, Levin talked with Trump about things he had in his home: a photo of Trump at 3 years old, his son Barron’s motorized car, a 1987 letter from Richard Nixon, the invitation to Trump and Melania’s wedding, as well as other objects.
Trump’s demeanor during the interview is different than what he showed on the campaign trail: soft-spoken and serious, with none of the bluster often seen during his campaign speeches.
Levin’s questions ranged from Trump’s early childhood to his passion for sports to his children and the impact the death of his brother Freddy had on Trump’s life.
Trump grew up in Queens, New York. He told Levin that sometimes he stops and visits the house in which he grew up, saying, “I had a good early life.” He explained to Levin that they lived in a house his father built, “It wasn’t opulent, but it was a great environment.” His parents “spoiled” him, but they were firm and loving. He said, “My father was tough, but my mother was tougher, but she spoiled me…she would say, ‘Oh I’m going to get the wooden spoon, but she wouldn’t use it. She was a talker in that sense.”
Levin asked Trump about a story that claimed Trump delivered papers on his paper route from his father’s limo. Trump’s response, “No, I don’t think so…” He did admit to being “rambunctious” and to “talking out of turn way too much” in school. His father sent him to New York Military Academy in upstate New York when he was thirteen years old, saying “I want to shape you up.” Trump said that it was one of the best things that he ever did, “It had a good impact on me…I have a feeling for the military and it may be partially because of that (attending military school).”
Trump said that his childhood taught him the value of having a great family and great parents, which is something that he extended on to his own children. He admitted to not being overly involved in the early years of rearing his children, saying “that’s not something I’m proud of, but the mothers have done such a good job.” Many people have noted and commented on the fact that Trump’s kids are exceptional people. Levin asked Trump about his parenting philosophy. Trump’s response:
“It’s important to make children understand the value of the dollar, the value of work, the value of money, the value of achievement…they have to understand what it is to be successful.”
The death of Trump’s brother, Freddy, from alcoholism also influenced Trump’s own choices and how he raised his children. He has never had a drink, done drugs or smoked ciggarettes in his life, and he also implored his children to follow those same rules: “If you don’t start, you’re never going to have a problem.”
Showbiz & Politics
“The Apprentice” ran for 14 seasons with Donald Trump at the helm. Levin asked if there was any skill that Trump learn during the show that translated into politics. Trump said, “I thought I had that skill at the very beginning – it is a natural talent but you can always get better…what you have to do in show business and politics is be yourself – unless you’re playing another character – but in my case, I was playing myself. It was a great honor to have done it for 14 seasons.” He went on, “They wanted to renew it, but I said, ‘No, I am going to run for President.'”
In 1987 Donald Trump received a letter from Richard Nixon telling him that Mrs. Nixon had seen Trump on “The Donohue Show.” In the letter Nixon stated that Mrs. Nixon said that whenever Donald “runs for office, he will be a winner.” Trump said that he knew Nixon, but only a little bit. He said that Nixon would send him letters trying to get him to run for office.
Who is Donald Trump?
At the end of the interview, Levin asks “Who is Donald Trump?” Trump’s answer, spoken in a thoughtful, quiet voice may surprise some of his critics.
“I am somebody who likes to help people. I like to see things done right, but above all I want to make life good for a lot of people, not just myself. I’ve made enough for myself – I want to win for the country. I hate seeing what’s happened to our country…”
The interview runs over 35 minutes and offers a perspective of Donald Trump not often seen on the campaign trail. During the rolling credits, TMZ has provided some “behind the scenes” clips of Trump asking Levin if he was going to join Trump on Fallon (The Jimmy Fallon show) and Trump being surprise over the length of the interview.