Donald Trump obsesses over his standing among his peers and has a real fear of losing relevance, according to leaked tapes and expert analysis.
On Wednesday (AEDT), The New York Times released a series of recordings from 2014 provided by Mr Trump’s biographer, Michael D’Antonio.
Mr D’Antonio wrote the biography The Truth About Trump, becoming close to the billionaire in the process. The author does not support Mr Trump’s candidacy.
The tapes recorded Mr Trump slamming celebrities whose fame dwindles, detesting losing (even while skiing with ex-wife Ivana) and stressing over how he would have his next “tremendous successes”.
The New York Times‘ election reporter who wrote the story, Michael Barbaro, concluded: “Ultimately, Mr. Trump fears – more than anything else – being ignored, overlooked or irrelevant.”
Mr Barbaro wrote this after listening to five hours of interviews between Mr Trump and Mr D’Antonio.
La Trobe University American politics watcher and lecturer Kumuda Simpson told The New Daily all Mr Trump seems to care about in the election is “maintaining his status and staying in the headlines”.
“Anytime he is criticised for his policies it doesn’t seem to register that he needs to change his tactics,” Ms Simpson said. “It seems enough for him that he is getting press coverage.
“It seems to satisfy him that he is just in it and constantly being covered … He is just happy to be a celebrity.”
At one point in the tape Mr Trump is talking fondly about how he is usually surrounded instantly when he enters a room. Did that ever “unnerve” him, Mr D’Antonio asked.
“No,” Mr Trump replied. “I think what would unnerve me is if it didn’t happen.”
Trump despises losing relevance, being defeated
The tapes revealed Mr Trump’s scorn for people who forfeit celebrity standing.
For example, he refers to American comedian and actor Arsenio Hall. Hall won Mr Trump’s 2012 series of The Celebrity Apprentice.
Speaking on the tapes, Mr Trump expressed disdain for the way Hall’s star had waned.
“Dead as a doornail … Dead as dog meat … Couldn’t get on television,” Mr Trump said with “disgust”, according to the report. “They wouldn’t even take his phone call.”
Mr Barbaro went on to write of the quotes: “Why such a harsh judgment? Because in Mr Trump’s eyes, Mr Hall had suffered the most grievous form of public humiliation: His celebrity had waned. His star had dimmed.”
Mr Trump also revealed one of his favourite songs to be Peggy Lee’s Is That all There Is?.
Mr Barbaro describes the song as: “A poignant ballad about unfulfilled dreams and dissatisfaction with life.”
Mr Trump says of the song: “It’s a great song because I’ve had these tremendous successes and then I’m off to the next one. Because, it’s like, ‘oh, is that all there is?'”.
His ex-wife Ivana was also interviewed on tape. She spoke about Mr Trump’s disdain for losing and humiliation.
During a ski trip before they married, she had not told Mr Trump she was an expert skier.
Ivana said that as they began skiing: “He [Mr Trump] goes and stops, and he says, ‘Come on, baby. Come on, baby’. I went up [the slope]. I went [performed] two flips up in the air, two flips in front of him. I disappeared.
“Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant … He could not take it. He could not take it.”
She recalled him complaining: ”I’m not going to do this … for anybody, including Ivana.”