Watch Donald Trump’s first major interview as president-elect on “60 Minutes,” Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
President-elect Donald Trump has been appearing on “60 Minutes” for just over 30 years. In 2015, he spoke with Scott Pelley about the state of his campaign and the issues most important to him as a candidate. In July, when Trump tapped Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, the full Republican ticket submitted itself to an interview with Lesley Stahl. This Sunday, his first interview as president-elect will air.
What about the very first time Donald Trump appeared on the show?
On November 17, 1985 -- almost 31 years to the day he declared victory in the 2016 presidential election -- Donald Trump traveled around New York City, from real estate holding to real estate holding, with “60 Minutes’” Mike Wallace. Just 39 years old then, the real estate magnate had already made a name for himself as an ambitious -- some would say arrogant -- entrepreneur. He was eight years into his first marriage with Ivana. He had three young children. And he was rebranding New York City in the Trump name.
In many ways, the Donald Trump portrayed in that first interview is the very same Donald Trump we see today... the one America just chose as its 45th president. However, he was younger then, less famous, and perhaps less jaded. So, that early interview offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life, habits and views of the man who is poised to occupy the most powerful office in the world.
Here are five of the interview’s most fascinating nuggets.
- Even back then, Trump had a tumultuous relationship with the press
While watching a football game with his then-wife Ivana, Wallace asked Trump about his sensitivity toward the media.
“I don’t think they’ve portrayed what I’m really all about,” the real estate mogul explained. “Well, I believe they like making me out to be somebody a little more sinister than I really am. And I don’t look at myself necessarily as being sinister.”
“How can they portray Donald Trump, all-American boy, as sinister?” asks Wallace.
“I don’t know that they portray me as Donald Trump, all-American boy,” responds Trump. “And I’m not saying that I am, by any means.”
2. He doesn’t often dress down
Sitting by the pool at the Trumps’ weekend mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, Mike Wallace jokingly asked Ivana about her husband’s wardrobe.
“Ivana, straighten me out about something,” he says. “Why does he show up beside a swimming pool out in the country, dressed as though he’s on his way to town to go to work at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon?”
“Well, it’s not always like that. Donald dresses casually. Not very often, but at times. I always tease him that he’s in a 16-piece suit. It’s probably a part of the image,” she responds. “You don’t see the banker running around in jeans.”
3. He did not then consider himself ambitious
“I don’t find work to be work,” the young Trump confided in Wallace, back in 1985. “I don’t work for ambition’s sake, which a horrible word in itself because I don’t even consider myself ambitious.”
How could a young billionaire like Donald Trump -- buying up dilapidated buildings, full corners of Central Park South, towers on 5th Avenue, acres along the Hudson, and remaking them all in his own name -- not consider himself ambitious? Wallace was incredulous, so he pushed back.
“I think I’m someone who enjoys so much what he’s doing,” responded Trump. “I don’t think it has anything to do with ambition, Mike.”
4. He unabashedly confirmed wanting and receiving special treatment
Back in 1985, Donald Trump had just purchased 14 blocks along the Hudson River for a staggering $100M. He was planning to put up luxury apartment buildings, restaurants, shopping centers.
“How much trouble is the city giving you?” asked Wallace, looking up at the acres of undeveloped land. “How much trouble are West Side community people giving you?”
“Well, trouble,” responded Trump. “I mean, what’s trouble? I’ve had trouble all my life, as far as that’s concerned. It gets to be difficult politically, I think, for the politicians to say, ‘Here comes Donald Trump. Let’s give him what he wants.’ And I don’t blame them.”
“You want tax abatements. You want special treatment,” pushed Wallace. “And by and large, you’ve gotten special treatment and tax abatements.
“That’s correct,” answered Trump.
5. He does not let criticism under his skin
Earlier in the interview, Donald Trump described not blaming politicians or New York City residents for giving him trouble regarding new developments. He was simply able to separate the business from the personal, and that ability extended to his tenants as well.
When asked whether it bothers him that people call him arrogant or cruel, Donald Trump simply shook his head.
“When I think I’m right, nothing bothers me. Nothing gets too much under my skin.”
Assuming the President-elect’s views on the matter haven’t changed, that’ll likely be a quality that will come in very handy over the next four years.